In December 2013, Yangon University receives 65 undergraduates in Law, for its first undergraduate programme since the 1980s. The beautiful campus of the University is undergoing renovations. These developments in the University parallel swift change in the legal system, as the government pursues reforms that could not have been foreseen even two years ago.

The Law Faculty is working with the Yangon Law Department, as part of the University of Oxford's developing plan to support the revitalisation of the University of Yangon.

Teaching in the Law Department: in November 2013, the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Timothy Endicott, gave a keynote lecture in a training programme provided by Allen & Overy to LLM and doctoral students in Yangon. The programme addressed international financial and corporate law, and Professor Endicott lectured on the interpretation of contracts. The programme also involved a reception held by Allen & Overy for alumni and many others from the legal community in Yangon, at the residence of the British ambassador. Professor Nick Rawlins, Oxford's Pro Vice Chancellor for Development and External Relations, went to Yangon at the same time, and he and Professor Endicott had meetings with the senior leadership of the University of Yangon, to discuss the potential for cooperation with Oxford. We are pursuing possibilities for Oxford academics to be involved in teaching in the Law Department, as part of the new undergraduate programme.

The Bodleian Law Library has already made a major donation of books to the library of the Yangon Law Department. Under the leadership of Andrew McLeod, Lecturer in Law at Lady Margaret Hall, we have arranged to equip Yangon University with the core of an English law library. The huge shipment was of more than 5000 books.

We plan to follow up on the provision of materials; Ruth Bird, the Bodleian Law Librarian, plans to visit Yangon to advise the Law Department, and its new librarian, on the modernisation of their library, and on how to put the Oxford materials to best effect, and on how to equip their students to make best use of electronic resources. We are also considering a visit by Sandra Meredith, Departmental Lecturer in Legal Research Skills, to offer a training programme on electronic resources.

An Oxford Law Library for Yangon

From its extensive duplicate collection, the Law Bodleian has sent the following materials to the University of Yangon:

  • The Law Reports – Statutes 1866- 1988 - 24 boxes
  • The English Reports – full set – 178 volumes – 33 boxes
  • Butterworths 20th Century Statutes – 80 vols,  - 9 boxes
  • Current Law Year book  incl. citator – 1966-1999 – 11 boxes
  • Halsbury’s Statutes, 3rd edition v. 1- 53 – 7 boxes
  • The All England Law reports –  Set 1 – 1963-1997 – 38 boxes; Set 2 – 1959 – 2004 – 12 boxes
  • The Law Reports – 2 sets of Appeal Cases – 1875 – 1995 (set 1)  - 2004 (set 2) - 13 & 12 boxes
  • The Law Reports – Chancery appeals, Equity – 1867 -1876) – 3 boxes
  • The Law Reports – 2 sets of Chancery – 1876 - 1995 (set 1)  - 2004 (set 2)  – 22 boxes & 16 boxes
  • The Law Reports – 2 sets of Queen’s Bench  & King’s Bench - 1865 – 1995 (set 1)  - 2004 (set 2)  – 26 boxes & 16 boxes
  • The Law Reports – - 2 sets of Probate, Family – 1891- 1958 – 3 boxes & 3 boxes

The future: We have high hopes for this fledgling association with the University of Yangon. In March 2014, a delegation of senior University of Yangon officials will come to Oxford for a training programme for University leaders; the Head of the Law Department, Dr Khin Mar Yee, has been invited to participate. And we will be discussing possibilities for Oxford academics to teach in Yangon. We hope for a connection that will assist in the project of training outstanding lawyers, which is essential for the development of law, commerce, and public service in Myanmar. And it is evident that we have much to learn about the developments in so many areas of law (in particular, in constitutional law and in commercial law), in a community undergoing rapid and far-reaching changes.