The 5th International Conference on Comparative Law took place in Hanoi from 8 to 10 September on the topic of "The Rule of Law and independent Justice". The conference was organised by the IRZ and the Vietnamese Institute of Human Rights. Attendees included the lawyer and writer, Professor Bernhard Schlink, the expert in constitutional law, Professor Bodo Pieroth, and Dr. Thomas Flint, a judge at the Federal Social Court of Germany.

Since 2011, the IRZ has been organising conferences on topics concerning constitutional law in cooperation with the Vietnamese Institute of Human Rights, which is a member of the National Academy of Politics and Public Administration. The objective of the IRZ is to help support human rights in connection with legal reforms in Vietnam and conduct projects aimed at strengthening the ongoing discussions on respecting human rights.

This year's conference, which took place from 8 to 10 September 2015, focussed on the requirements for the constitutional organisation and institutional independence of the justice system as a basic aspect of protecting human rights. Vietnam has long been focussed on the objective of becoming a constitutional state and has initiated many legal reform projects.

It is worth emphasizing the amendment to the constitution with effect from 1 January 2014. This led to successful reforms in many areas of law, accompanied by lively debate amongst those applying the law, as well as amongst citizens. The main topics of discussion were:

  • Division of powers
  • Protecting citizens' rights in relation to the state
  • Further legal training of judges
  • State liability
  • The authority of supervisory mechanisms

In addition, Professor Schlink and Professor Pieroth took a lecture at the Law School in Hanoi on the Principles of Proportionality (Schlink) and on the Federal Constitutional Court (Pieroth), followed by discussions with lecturers and students.

Professor Schlink has made a name for himself not only as a legal expert, but also as an author. His novel "The Reader" was made into a successful film in 2008 and has been translated into more than 55 languages, including Vietnamese. The German Embassy in Hanoi therefore took the opportunity to show the film and arrange a discussion afterwards between the audience and the author, in which many young Vietnamese people in particular took part with enthusiasm.