The aim of this book is to identify, state, and explain the rules of private international law which form that part of the law of Myanmar today.
Law Departments in universities in Myanmar are having to adjust very quickly to a world which is very different to the one on which the country closed its doors 50 years ago. The Faculty of Law of the University of Oxford has for some time been working, with the Department of Law at Yangon University and others, to provide practical help of various kinds. The first thing, of course, was for us to listen carefully, for there are too many whose calculation of what they can do for Myanmar is no more than a reflection of what they think Myanmar can do for them. But it seems that among the things which Oxford can offer, and provide with no strings attached, is help with the fundamental skills of legal teaching and doctrinal writing, from which everything else that should go on in a law school will spring. So far as legal teaching is concerned, academic visits by members of the Oxford Faculty have taken, and will, no doubt, continue to take place; but other forms of contribution may sometimes be more productive, and less disruptive, than a brief visit from a slightly disoriented professor. Law departments need modern materials with which to do their job, and as Oxford has been producing such texts for a very long time, our ability to do this may provide something more durable than whatever remains after visits which are over almost before they have even begun.
The idea for this book came from a visit made to the Department of Law at Yangon University in September 2014. As to that, of course, my first and happy task is to thank the Head of the Department, Dr Khin Mar Yee, and her colleagues, for their kindness and hospitality despite the many and much more important demands on their time. I was also able to hold classes with Dr Mon Mon Tar and her colleagues at Dagon University, and to do the same with at East Yangon University. Colleagues in these Departments work under really challenging conditions with insufficient resources. Those of us in well-upholstered universities in other common law jurisdictions, where life has never been less than comfortable, should perhaps count our blessings and be happy to share some of them. It was in discussion at East Yangon University with Dr Marlar Aung, Dr May Htar, and Dr Khin Chit Chit, that the possibility of writing a book for the modern teaching of this subject was broached. It seemed that the only way to see whether it was an idea which might work was to sit down and try to produce a book, using Myanmar material where it was available, common law to fill the gaps, and Oxford’s experience to weave it all together. This is the book which resulted; it will be for those to whom it is offered to judge whether it has worked.