Dr. Penelope Nicholson
UniMelb Asian Law Online – Searchable Bibliographic Database on Commentary on Asian Law
CIA Factbook – Vietnam
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia: Vietnam
National Assembly of Vietnam
Vietnam Communist Party
Vietnamese American Embassy Site
Course Unit Details
Vietnamese Party-State: Positioning Law by Dr Pip Nicholson, Asian Law Centre, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
Dr Pip Nicholson joined the Asian Law Centre in 1997 and was a Senior Fellow of the Faculty from 1998. She joined the Faculty permanently as a lecturer in 2002. Pip holds degrees in Law and Arts from the University of Melbourne, a Masters in Public Policy from the Australian National University and a Doctorate from the University of Melbourne. Pip's doctoral research focused on the Vietnamese court system between 1945 and 1976, in the course of an analysis of the extent to which the Vietnamese legal system mirrored or diverged from its Soviet parent.
Pip has recently completed research on corruption within the Vietnamese court system and an analysis of the take-up of labour law reforms in Vietnam. She is currently working on the challenges of cross-cultural legal research and legal reform - particularly within Asia. In particular, she is researching Vietnamese conceptions of law through a study of local mediation practices.
Pip teaches on
the Vietnamese legal system in both the undergraduate and graduate programs of
the University of Melbourne’s Law School. She also teaches Comparative Law, Law
and Economic reform in Asia, Commercial Law in Asia, Law and Society in
Southeast Asia, Fundamentals of the Common Law and History and Philosophy of
In addition, Pip works as a consultant delivering technical and training advice to legal reform projects within Asia, particularly within Vietnam and Indonesia.
Aim of the Course Unit
This course unit will introduce students to the particular challenges of transitional socialist states. More particularly, it introduces the contested and uncertain place of law in Vietnam since its 1986-adoption of the doi moi (renovation) policy. In short, this policy change saw the Vietnamese leadership abandon its commitment to a planned economy and seek to introduce a socialist-oriented market economy. While the objectives of the economic reforms may have been relatively clear, it will be argued that Vietnam is cautiously and pragmatically experimenting with legal reform. In particular, the Vietnamese Party-State seeks to balance the needs of a socialist-oriented market economy while retaining one-Party leadership.
The lecture will commence by looking at Vietnamese law and legal norms over time. It will be suggested that moral influences (both Confucianism and socialist morality) have a long history in Vietnam and that these continue to shape the role and place of law in the contemporary period. Subsequently, the lecture will analyse the nature of Party-State relations and the role ascribed to ‘legal’ institutions - in particular the courts of today.
Students will also be referred to the presentation of two conference papers delivered in June 2003 accessible in streaming video via link:
John Gillespie – ‘Continuity and Change in Vietnamese ‘Socialist’ Legal Thinking’
Pip Nicholson – ‘Vietnamese Jurisprudence: Informing Court Reform?’
To summarise the lecture is organised as follows:
• Vietnamese legal systems introduced: roles of morality and law
• Party-State relations
• Court reforms of 2002 introduced
• Snapshot of contemporary courts
• Integrating lecture with video-conference papers on Vietnamese socialism and legal change
Additional Country Notes and References
Vietnam’s legal tradition reflects a complex weave of indigenous, Chinese, French, Soviet and Western influences resulting in particular attitudes to authority and morality. In Vietnam the interconnection between law and morality is complicated by the fact that the Vietnamese were greatly influenced by Confucian and then Marxist-Leninist thinking.
Vietnam’s independence from China in 939 AD did not put a stop to Chinese influence on Vietnamese legal change. At various times both Chinese legalism and versions of Chinese Confucianism affected Vietnamese legal development. However, scholars are not in agreement about the extent of Chinese influence. It is variously portrayed as significant and working alongside indigenous understandings of law and custom.
Put simply, a system of Chinese-inspired Confucian-influenced codes emerged, premised on an entrenched hierarchy with the mandarins and the Sovereign at its apex, which moulded perceptions of officialdom and social regulation within Vietnam. In particular, these codes, when read in light of the dominant Confucian philosophical tradition of the later fifteenth century, suggest that moral virtue was central to Vietnamese life – more significant than laws and edicts. As one commentator puts it:
But ethical canons were defended not so much by a deeply permeative legal-judicial system which constantly identified and punished offences as by a plethoric ritualism in politics and in family relations – by an abundance of carefully worked out rituals which ought to eliminate immoral conduct ahead of time.
In 1848 Napoleon III announced his intention to send an expedition to quell uprisings against French missionaries to Cochinchina. On 15 March 1875 a treaty with the imperial court at Hue granted the French sovereignty over Cochinchina. In 1883 the Hue court conceded France had protectorates over both Annam (central Vietnam) and Tonkin (northern Vietnam). Following the occupation by the French of the south of Vietnam, the country experienced a re-arrangement of its political and legal structures. Generally the French influence on the Vietnamese administration and legal system was strongest in Cochinchina where it had sovereignty. French commercial elites, largely based in the South, used commercial law introduced by the French. In the North and centre of the country (Tonkin and Annam respectively), the French gained protectorates. In Tonkin the French presence was felt more strongly than in Annam.
In August 1945, following a period of severe famine, the Ho Chi Minh-led Viet Minh (nationalist movement) seized power from the Japanese who had occupied Vietnam, with the unwilling cooperation of the French, since 9 March 1945. Independence was declared in Ba Dinh square, an area adjacent to the Governor General’s Palace, on 2 September 1945.  On 6 January 1946 elections were held for the first Vietnamese National Assembly. The Assembly met on 2 March 1946 and after congratulating the Provisional Revolutionary Government on its success, appointed a cabinet led by Ho Chi Minh. A few days later, on 6 March, Ho Chi Minh signed a preliminary agreement acknowledging North Vietnam as a ‘free state’ within the French Union. A limited legislative program was initiated and on 9 November 1946 the first Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was approved. In 1947 the new provisional government decamped from its location just out of Hanoi to the jungles of Thai Nguyen to wage its war of resistance.
From the end of 1946 attempts to reconcile French and nationalist interests in northern Vietnam were interrupted by armed conflict. Gradually resistance grew to the French presence, with military strategies changing quite substantially over the period 1945 to 1948. In 1950 both the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union officially recognised the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In 1954, at Dien Bien Phu, the Vietnamese had a decisive victory over the French. This culminated in the Geneva Agreement of 21 July 1954 and with that the division of Vietnam at the seventeenth parallel. The Ho Chi Minh-led administration moved back to the capital, Hanoi. The agreement indicated that free elections were to be held throughout Vietnam in 1956 to determine the future of the whole country. The election did not eventuate.
The DRVN faced opposition within its own borders. Not only did Ho Chi Minh’s cabinet have to cope with the exigencies of distance, poor communication and little experience of governing, they had to develop policies that were attractive to the people and easy to communicate. The debate about the extent to which Ho Chi Minh was a committed communist or Marxist is on-going.
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam initiated a series of rectification campaigns against those who did not wish to support the Viet Minh. In particular, the land campaign was waged between 1953 and 1956. The land policies aimed to effect a redistribution of land from landowners to land tillers and to educate the people on political matters. In 1956 the Vietnam Workers’ Party publicly condemned the harshness of the land reform campaign and Truong Chinh resigned as Secretary of the Vietnam Workers’ Party marking the introduction of new policies.
In the South Ngo Dinh Diem assumed power in 1955. He refused to hold the national elections outlined in the Geneva Agreement, and declared the Republic of Vietnam with himself as President. The French left Vietnam in 1956 and Diem signed a joint communiqué with President Eisenhower condemning communism.
In January 1959 The Vietnam Workers’ Party decided to pursue a policy of revolutionary struggle in the South of Vietnam. After 1959 the war moved from guerrilla attacks in the South by the DRVN Army to a coordinated movement to liberate the South lead by the National Liberation Front established in December 1960. On 8 March 1965 the first American combat troops arrived, taking American involvement beyond endorsement of the strategic hamlet policies of 1962 and an advisory role. In 1966 the first bombing of the north of Vietnam occurred. In 1968 the North successfully launched the Tet offensive, capturing Hue and many other villages, before ultimately having to withdraw. Despite peace talks in Paris in May 1968, the war continued. On 27 January 1973 the ‘Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam’ was signed in Paris and all American troops left Vietnam by the end of March 1973. On 30 April 1975 The People’s Liberation Armed Forces took control of Saigon and declared the independence of the South.
While the war raged throughout this period, the Government of the North consolidated its position and attempted to organise its administrative apparatus. National elections were held in May 1960, only the second national elections held since 1945. At the Third National Congress, held in Hanoi in September 1960, the administration restated its twin objectives of unifying the country and constructing socialism in the north.
Ho Chi Minh died in September 1969. In 1971 the Fourth national elections were held. The Fourth National Congress of the Vietnam Workers’ Party, at which a change of name was adopted resulting in the creation of the Vietnamese Communist Party, opened on 14 December 1976. Elections for a new National Assembly were held on 25 April 1976, signifying the unification of the country.
The country was initially unified as a socialist state. The Constitutions of 1980 makes clear that post-war Vietnam was a one-Party state committed to socio-economic objectives and under the leadership of the Vietnam Communist Party. However, with the loss of Soviet aid, the oil crisis and the rampant inflation domestically the Vietnamese Party-state was forced to reconsider its policy priorities during the 1980s.
The result was the formal adoption of the doi moi or renovation policy in 1986. This policy saw the Vietnamese leadership formally commit to a socialist-oriented market economy and commence privatization of the State Owned Enterprise sector and active promotion of Vietnam as a destination for foreign direct investment.
Both the economic policy changes and ensuing legal reforms have attracted much attention in the 18 years since Vietnam officially moved to a socialist oriented market economy. Essentially, the Vietnamese legal paradigm has shifted from the post-1945 socialist conception of law to the Vietanmese law-based state (nha nuoc phap quyen): a change that was formally announced at the Seventh Party Congress of 1991. Law-based state does not equate to rule of law. Rather, it officially pronounces that the party is bound by law, while retaining a leadership role for the Party in the making and interpretation of law.
Arkadie, Brian Van and Raymond Mallon, Viet Nam: A transition Tiger?, Asia Pacific Press, Canberra, Australia, 2003
Beresford, Melanie, ‘Vietnam: The Transition from Central Planning’ in Garry Rhodan, Kevin Hewison and Richard Robison (eds), The Political Economy of Southeast Asia, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1997
Blanchi, Gilles, Building Sustainability for Legal Training of Government Lawyers in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Draft Report, Published by the Ministry of Justice, Asian Development Bank RETA 5640, UNDP Program VIE 94/003, International Development Law Institute, 1996
Buttinger, Joseph, Vietnam: A Political History, Praeger Publishers Inc., New York, 1968
Cavet, Stuart, ‘Choice of Law in Vietnam and the New Civil Code: Is Choice of Law Available for Your Type of Contract?’ East Asian Executive Reports, No. 9, 15 September 1996, p. 9
Chua, Amy L., ‘Markets, Democracy, and Ethnicity: Toward a New Paradigm for Law and Development’ Yale Law Journal, October, 1998, p. 1
Dang Duc Dam, ‘Administrative Reform - Changes to Meet the Requirements of the Market-oriented Economy’ in John Gillespie (ed), Commercial Legal Development in Vietnam: Vietnam and Foreign Commentaries, Butterworths Asia, Singapore, 1997, pp. 477 - 498
Duiker, William, Ho Chi Minh, Hyperion, New York, 2000
Duiker, William, Historical Dictionary of Vietnam, The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Metuchen, NJ, 1989
Fall, Bernard B., The Two Vietnams: A Political and Military Analysis, Pall Mall Press, London, 1967
Fall, Bernard B., The Viet Minh Regime Government and Administration in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Greenwood Press Publishers, Westport, Connecticut, 1956
Fforde, Adam and Stefan de Vylder, From Plan to Market, Westview Press, Colorado, 1996
Fforde, Adam, ‘The Unimplementability of Policy and the Notion of Law in Vietnamese Communist Thought’ Southeast Asia Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 1, 1986, p. 63
Gillespie, John, ‘Globalisation and Legal Transplantation: Lessons from the Past’ 6 (2) Deakin Law Review, 2001, pp. 286 – 311,
Gillespie, John, ‘Commercial Arbitration in Vietnam’ Journal of International Arbitration, Vol. 8, 1991, pp. 25 – 68
Gittinger, J. Price, ‘Communist Land Policy in North Vietnam’ Far Eastern Survey, Vol. 29, No. 8, 1957
Ha Hung Cuong, ‘Resolution of Economic Disputes in Vietnam and the Accession to the 1958 New York Convention’ in John Gillespie (ed), Commercial Legal Development in Vietnam: Vietnam and Foreign Commentaries, Butterworths Asia, Singapore, 1997, pp. 145 - 175
Heng, Russell Hiang-Khng, ‘Media Negotiating the State: In the Name of the Law in Anticipation’ Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, Vol. 16, No. 2, October 2001, pp. 213 - 226
Hoang Phuoc Hiep, Nguyen Minh Man, Hoang Thanh Tung, Per Bergling, Viola Bostrom and Erik Persson, An Introduction to the Vietnamese Legal System, SIDA, Hanoi, 1995
Hoang Van Chi, From Colonialism to Communism, Praeger, New York, 1964
Honey, P. J., North Vietnam Today, Frederick A. Praeger, New York, 1962
Hooker, M.B., A Concise Legal History of South East Asia, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1978
Hooker, M. B., Legal Pluralism: An Introduction to Colonial and Neo-colonial Laws, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1975
Huyen Kim Khanh, Vietnamese Communism 1925 - 1945, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1982
Institute for the History of the Communist Party of Vietnam, History of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Hanoi, 1986
Jamieson, Neill, Understanding Vietnam, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1993
Karnow, Stanley, Vietnam: A History, Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1985
Kerkvliet, Benedict J. Tria (ed), Dilemmas of Development: Vietnam Update 1994, Political and Social Change Monograph No. 22, ANU, Canberra, 1995
Le Cong Dinh, ‘Arbitration in Vietnam’ World Arbitration and Mediation Report, June 2000
Lichtenstein, Natalie, A Survey of Vietnam’s Legal Framework in Transition, Policy Research Working Paper No. 1291, World Bank, Washington, 1994
Lockhart, Greg, Nation in Arms – The Origin’s of the People’s Army in Vietnam, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1989
Malarney, Shaun Kingsley 'Culture, Virtue and Political Transformation in Contemporary Northern Vietnam' 4 The Journal of Asian Studies, 1997, pp. 899 - 920.
Marr, David, Vietnam 1945: The Quest for Power, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1995
Marr, David, ‘The Vietnam Communist Party and Civil Society’ in Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet (ed), Dilemmas of Development: Vietnam Update 1994, Political and Social Change Monograph No. 22, A.N.U., Canberra, 1995
Marr, David, Vietnam, World Bibliographical Series, Vil 147, Clio Press Ltd, Santa Barbara, 1992
Marr, David, Vietnamese Tradition on Trial, 1920 - 1945, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1981
McLeod, Mark W., The Vietnamese Response to the French Intervention, 1862 – 1874, Praeger, New York, 1991
McMillan, John and Christopher Woodruff, ‘Dispute Prevention without Courts in Vietnam’ Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Vol. 15, No. 3, October 1999, pp. 637 - 658
Moise, Edwin ‘Land Reform and Land Reform Errors in North Vietnam’ Pacific Affairs, Vol. 49, No. 1, 1976, pp. 70 - 92
Ngo Duc Manh, ‘Forty-Eight Years of Vietnam’s National Assembly, Vietnam Law and Legal Forum, 1994, p. 27
Nguyen Ngoc Huy, Ta Van Tai and Tran Van Liem, The Le Code, Ohio University Press, 1987
Nguyen Phuong Khanh, ‘Overview of the Legal System of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’ International Journal of Legal Information, Winter 1999, pp. 307 - 331
Nguyen Thanh Thuy, ‘Dispute Resolution and Enforcement of Economic Judgments in Vietnam’ in John Gillespie (ed), Commercial Legal Development in Vietnam: Vietnam and Foreign Commentaries, Butterworths Asia, Singapore, 1997, pp. 189 - 211
Nicholson, Penelope (Pip), ‘Good Governance and Institutional Accountability: The Role of the Vietnamese Courts?’ in Timothy Lindsey and Howard Dick (eds), Rethinking the Good Governance Paradigm: Corruption & Social Engineering in Indonesia & Vietnam, forthcoming 2002
Nicholson, Penelope (Pip), ‘Judicial Independence and the Rule of Law: The Vietnam Court Experience’ Australian Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 3(1), 2001, pp. 37 - 58
Nicholson, Penelope (Pip) and Nguyen Thi Minh, ‘Commercial Disputes and Arbitration in Vietnam’ Journal of International Arbitration, Vol. 17, No.5, October 2000, pp. 1 - 18
Nicholson, Penelope (Pip), ‘Vietnamese Institutions in Comparative Perspective: Constitutions and Courts Considered’ in K. Jayasuriya (ed), Law, Capitalism and Power in Asia, Routledge, London and New York, 1999, pp. 300 - 329
Nicholson, Pip, ‘Bibliography of Vietnamese law related materials’ Legal Reference Services Quarterly, Vol 22, Issue 2/3, 2003, pp. 139 – 200.
Norlund, Irene and Pham Duc Thanh, Asian Values and Vietnam’s Development in Comparative Perspective, National Centre for Social Sciences and Nordic Institute if Asian Studies in Denmark, Hanoi, 2000
Osborne, Milton, The French Presence in Cochinchina and Cambodia: Response 1869 - 1905, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1969
Pham Van Thuyet, ‘Legal Framework and Private Sector Development in Transitional Economies: the Case of Vietnam’ Law and Policy in International Business, Vol. 27, No. 3, Spring 1996, pp. 541 - 600
Polevoy, Pamela L., ‘Privatization in Vietnam: the Next Step in Vietnam’s Economic Transition from a Nonmarket to a Market Economy’ Brooklyn Journal of International Law, Vol. 23, No. 3, January 1998, pp. 887 - 925
Porter, D. Gareth, The Myth of a Bloodbath: North Vietnam’s Land Reform Reconsidered, Interim Report 2, International Relations of East Asia Project, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1972
Pryles, Michael (ed), Dispute Resolution in Asia, Kluwer Law International, The Hague, 2003
Quinn, Brian J. M. ‘Legal Reform and its Context in Vietnam’, 15 (Spring) Columbia Journal of Asian Law, 2002, p. 219 - 291
Quinn, Brian J. M. ‘Vietnam’s Continuing Legal Reform: Gaining Control Over the Courts’ Asian Pacific Law and Policy Journal, Vol. 4, Issue 2, 2003, pp. 432 - 468
Rose, Carol V., ‘The “New” Law and Development Movement in the Post-cold War Era: a Vietnam Case Study’ Law and Society Review, Vol. 32, No. 1, April 1998, pp. 93 - 140
Sevastik, Per (ed), Legal Assistance to Developing Countries: Swedish Perspectives on Rule of Law, Kluwer Law International, The Netherlands, 1997
Sidel, Mark, ‘Law Reform in Vietnam: the Complex Transition from Socialism and Soviet Models of in Legal Scholarship and Training’ UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal, Spring 1993, pp. 221 - 259
Templer, Robert, Shadows and Wind: A View of Modern Vietnam, Abacus (Little, Brown), London, 1999
Thayer, Carlyle and David Marr (eds), Vietnam and the Rule of Law, Political and Social Change Monograph 19, A.N.U, 1993
Tran Le Thuy, ‘Vietnam: Can an Effective Arbitration System Exist?’ Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Journal, January 1998
Vecchi, Christina and Nguyen T. Phuong Khanh, ‘The Legal System of Vietnam’ in Kenneth Robert Redden (ed), Modern Legal Systems Cyclopedia, Supplement 1, Buffalo, New York, 1987, p. 350.3
Vecchi, Christina, ‘The Legal System of Vietnam’ in Kenneth Robert Redden (ed), Modern Legal System Cyclopedia, Vol. 9, Buffalo, New York, 1985, p. 823
Waller, Spencer Weber and Lan Cao ‘Law Reform in Vietnam: the Uneven Legacy of Doi Moi’ New York University Journal of International Law and Politics, Vol. 29, No. 4, Summer 1997, pp. 555 – 576
Weiner, Majorie and Klein, Wells C. ‘North Vietnam’ in George McTurnan (ed), Governments and Politics of Southeast Asia, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1959
White, Christine, Agrarian Reform and National Liberation in the Vietnamese Revolution: 1920–1957, Presented at the Faculty of Graduate School at Cornell University, 1981
Woodside, Alexander, Vietnam and the Chinese Model, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1971
Young, Stephen ‘The Law of Property and Elite Prerogatives during Vietnam’s Le Dynasty’ Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1976, pp. 1 - 48
 Mark Sidel, ‘Vietnam’ in Poh Ling Tan, Asian Legal Systems, Butterworths, Sydney, 1997, 356- 385. For a general history of Vietnam to 1968 see Joseph Buttinger, Vietnam: A Political History, Praeger Publishers Inc., New York, 1968.
 Shaun Kingsley Malarney 'Culture, Virtue and Political Transformation in Contemporary Northern Vietnam' 4 The Journal of Asian Studies, 1997, pp. 899 – 920.
 M. B. Hooker, Legal Pluralism: An Introduction to Colonial and Neo-colonial Laws Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1975; M. B. Hooker, A Concise Legal History of South East Asia Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1978; Nguyen Ngoc Huy Ta Van Tai and Tran Van Liem, The Le Code, Ohio University Press, Ohio, 1987.
 The powerful position of the bureaucracy and its extensive discretionary powers operated from at least the mid fourteenth century. This was at one time sacrosanct, but became less accepted over time as the laws were seen to privilege the undeserving and greedy higher classes. See Stephen Young’s discussion of Le Thanh Tong’s struggle to have the codes uniformly applied as early as the mid 1400s: Stephen Young, ‘The Law of Property and Elite Prerogatives during Vietnam’s Le Dynasty’, Journal of Asian History, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1976, pp. 15–16.
 Alexander Woodside, Vietnam and the Chinese Model, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1976, p. 15.
 For the French presence in Vietnam see generally: Milton Osborne, The French Presence in Cochinchina and Cambodia: Response 1869 - 1905, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1969 and Mark W. McLeod, The Vietnamese Response to the French Intervention, 1862 – 1874, Praeger, New York, 1991.
 M. B. Hooker, A Concise Legal History of South East Asia Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1978.
 David Marr, Vietnam 1945: The Quest for Power, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1995.
 David Marr, ‘Ho Chi Minh’s Independence Declaration’ in K.W. Taylor and John K. Whitmore (eds), Essays into Vietnam’s Past, Studies on Southeast Asia, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1995, pp. 221–231. This paper describes the pageantry and politics of Vietnam’s first Independence Day. For a more general history see also David G. Marr, Vietnam 1945: The Quest for Power, University of California Press, 1995, pp. 529–537.
 As Ngo Duc Manh observes the members of the National Assembly were not all elected as those elected decided to add seventy seats without going through another peoples’ vote. Ngo Duc Manh, ‘Forty-Eight Years of Vietnam’s National Assembly, Vietnam Law and Legal Forum, 1994, p. 27.
 David Marr, Vietnam, World Bibliographical Series, Vil 147, Clio Press Ltd, Santa Barbara, 1992.
 Only 13 pieces of legislation were passed by the National Assembly in the period 1946–1960 according to Ngo Duc Manh, ‘Forty-Eight Years of Vietnam’s National Assembly, Vietnam Law and Legal Forum, 1994, p. 27. However, this figure is misleading as numerous Administrative Committees and Ministries were active legislators during these war years with many of their laws included in Cong Bao (The Official Gazette) for this period.
 Greg Lockhart, Nation in Arms – The Origin’s of the People’s Army in Vietnam, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1989, pp. 183–221.
 Bernard Fall, The Viet Minh Regime Government and Administration in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Greenwood Press Publishers, Westport, Connecticut, 1956, pp. 3–8.
 Huynh Kim Khanh, Vietnamese Communism 1925-1945, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1982, pp. 57–63 discusses the early politics of Nguyen Ai Quoc, known later as Ho Chi Minh. Jean Lacouture’s biography, 1968, is another account of the debates about whether Uncle Ho was a committed communist, a political pragmatist, a nationalist or a combination of these. Bernard Fall, 1967, also notes the difficulty of ascribing a single political agenda to Ho Chi Minh. Fall argues that Ho Chi Minh ‘never quite reconciled within himself the at times conflicting demands of over–all communist strategy and his own love for his country’: at p. ix. See also William Duiker, Ho Chi Minh, Hyperion, New York, 2000.
 An excellent discussion about the land reform period is located in Christine White’s doctoral thesis, Agrarian Reform and National Liberation in the Vietnamese Revolution: 1920–1957, Presented at the Faculty of Graduate School at Cornell University, 1981. See also: J. Price Gittinger, ‘Communist Land Policy in North Vietnam’ Far Eastern Survey, Vol. 29, No. 8, 1957, pp. 113–126, p. 114; Hoang Van Chi, From Colonialism to Communism, Praeger, New York, 1964; D. Gareth Porter, The Myth of a Bloodbath: North Vietnam’s Land Reform Reconsidered, Interim Report 2, International Relations of East Asia Project, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1972; Edwin Moise, ‘Land Reform and Land Reform Errors in North Vietnam’ Pacific Affairs, Vol. 49, No. 1, 1976, pp. 70–92.
 For an excellent discussion of the government and policies of the Republic of Vietnam until 1959 see Wells C. Klein and Marjorie Weiner, ‘North Vietnam’ in George McTurnan (ed), Governments and Politics of Southeast Asia, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1959, pp. 315–387.
 David Marr, Vietnam, World Bibliographical Series, Vol. 147, Clio Press Ltd, Santa Barbara, 1992. See also David G. Marr, Vietnam 1945: The Quest for Power, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1995; this history considers the role of the French, the Japanese and the various Vietnamese factions in the period leading up to the Declaration of Independence on 2 September 1945.
 For a description of the strategic hamlet policy see Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History, Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1985, pp. 255–258. He describes the policy as a ‘plan to corral peasants into armed stockades, thereby depriving the Vietcong of their support’: at p. 255.
 Penelope Nicholson ‘Vietnamese Institutions in Comparative Perspective: Constitutions and Courts Considered’ in K. Jayasuriya (ed), Law, Capitalism and Power in Asia, Routledge, London and New York, 1999.
 Melanie Beresford, ‘Vietnam: The Transition from Central Planning’ in Garry Rhodan, Kevin Hewison and Richard Robison (eds), The Political Economy of Southeast Asia, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1997.
 Just to take two examples: Adam Fforde and Stefan de Vylder, From Plan to Market, Westview Press, Colorado, 1996 and Brian Van Arkadie and Raymond Mallon, Viet Nam: A transition Tiger?, Asia Pacific Press, Canberra, Australia, 2003.
 John Gillespie, ‘Self-Interest and Ideology: Bureaucratic Corruption in Vietnam’ The Australian Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 3 No. 1, 2001, pp. 1-36.
 Constitution of 1992, Article 4.
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