What is Legal Assistance?
In the countries trying to introduce market economy system after the end of Cold War (Vietnam, Laos, Uzbekistan, etc.), and to rebuild their society after civil war (Cambodia, etc.), it is an urgent task to design new national image and to establish legal system to support it.
It is developed countries' duty to assist such legal system improvement in regime changing countries to establish foundation for human rights protection and economic development, so many countries are enhancing their commitment in this area. Japan also has eagerly committed mainly in regime changing countries in Asia, as supporting amendment of Civil Code in Vietnam, or legislation of Civil Code and Civil Procedure Code in Cambodia.
In addition to direct support in drafting and enacting laws, there are much commitment in training human resources to manage legal system. For the Attorneys' Training School in Cambodia, for instance, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations has made continuous support.
The Faculty of Law, Nagoya University, has also committed in legal assistance, mainly through accepting graduate students from such regime changing countries. It is our important aim to educate them to be future judges, attorneys, or legislative officers in each country, as to contribute development and democratization.
Naturally, to make laws written on paper is important, but it cannot change the society in itself. Those who can use such laws (lawyers), and those who can amend them in need (legislative officers) will be necessary. And more important fact will be that the institution made by the laws is trusted, and used, by the general public in the country.
Legal institutions need to stand on the current social condition in each county, to be understood and trusted by nation. Purely transplanted legal institution, without considering the current condition, cannot root alive in the society. There is strong need to design legal institution appropriate for its objective, considering the difference and current status of the target society.
Curiosity to Law
Naturally, much knowledge in law is necessay in legislation. However, different from usual lawyers domestically active in court cases using existing legal institutions, the main task will be to design new and attractive institutions.
More than professional knowledge in certain legal system, curiosity over wide range of fields and government systems to refer in designing institutions is required.
Curiosity to Different Cultures
Target countries have different society, culture, and habit, from developed countries including Japan. Flexible mind with curiosity to different cultures, to design appropriate legal institution based on proper cultural understanding, and to propose acceptable solution to both donor and recipient countries in legal assistance, is required.
Curiosity to Different Fields
Accurate understanding to the target field is indispensable in making legal institutions. For instance, it is necessary to analyze what kind of agriculture takes place in the country, and how it is related to land property system, in designing land laws.
To do that, sharing information with the professionals in each field, and searching for solution in cooperation, is necessary. High communication ability as to manage project in collaboration with professionals from different background, is required.
Curiosity to Foreign Languages
Of course foreign language proficiency is indispensable to fill above mentioned capacities. High English conversation proficiency is necessary in communicating with international organizations or assistance agencies of foreign governments. To learn the language widely used in certain country will be indispensable in negotiating with local statesmen or government officers, or to stay and live in the target country as a first step.
Wide and strong curiosity in language proficiencies, as to gain necessary ones along with situation, is required.