Andrew McLeod, Lecturer in Law at Lady Margaret Hall, has just completed a visit to Myanmar on behalf of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
As Andrew explains, 'My brief was to support the constitutional reform process through seminars and meetings with those involved in the parliamentary committee reviewing the constitution. With the committee making its final report at the end of this month, this was a critical moment in Myanmar's process of constitutional renewal.' The visit was supported by the Speaker of the Myanmar Parliament, Thura U Shwe Mann, and Andrew met with Deputy Speaker U Nanda Kyaw Swa, who chairs the Constitution Review Joint Committee, to discuss its progress and provide advice on further constitutional support. Andrew's assistance involved training for MPs, informal advice sessions and meetings with key legal advisers including the Director-General of the Union Attorney-General's Office.
Andrew also visited the Department of Law at the University of Yangon, as part of the University of Oxford's developing plan to support its revitalisation and delivered a lecture to law undergraduates. 'The students are exceptionally bright and show great promise to help rebuild Yangon as a centre for outstanding legal education,' Andrew said. 'Many would fit comfortably into tutorials at Oxford.' The 48 law undergraduates commenced their studies last December as part of the first undergraduate law programme at Yangon since the 1980s.
The Oxford Law Faculty is working closely with the Yangon Law Department. In November 2013 Timothy Endicott gave a keynote lecture in a training programme provided by Allen & Overy to LLM and doctoral students in Yangon. The Bodleian Law Library has already donated 5,000 books to the library of the Yangon Law Department, facilitated through the Constitution Trust, a charity founded by Andrew. Ruth Bird, the Bodleian Law Librarian, plans to visit Yangon to advise the Law Department 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.
Andrew McLeod with Deputy Speaker U Nanda Kyaw Swa.
(l-r): Daw Yi Yi Win (Andrew's interpreter); Andrew McLeod; U Nanda Kyaw Swa; U Aumg Myin Tun and U Tin Win (members of Pyithu Hluttaw Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission).
Andrew lecturing to the undergraduates at the Department of Law, University of Yangon.