Access to Justice and Administrative Law in Myanmar

Administrative law is an important part of access to justice because it can operate as a check and balance on government decision-making, and provide an avenue for individuals to seek review of government decisions.

In a report sponsored by USAID and TetraTech for their ‘Promoting the Rule of Law in Myanmar’ program, I emphasise the importance of administrative law in Myanmar in promoting good governance, accountability and checks on executive power. 

The main avenue for judicial review of administrative action in Myanmar is the constitutional writs under the 2008 Constitution. Since 2011, a large number of applications for the constitutional writs have been brought to the Supreme Court. The Writ Procedure Law 2014 was introduced to clarify the Supreme Court procedure for handling writ cases. The constitutional writs are a new area of law and support needs to be provided to a range of legal actors in order to take hold of the potential opportunity this provides. 

Efforts must also go beyond the constitutional writs to the broader court system in which they exist, as well as the wider legal environment and avenues for independent non-judicial mechanisms for review of government decisions. 

The report considers how constitutional writ cases have been used since 2011, and the response of the courts. It places Myanmar and its system of administrative law in comparative perspective. It also considers various non-judicial institutions that are now common in countries around the world – such as freedom of information laws and ombudspersons – that can create further avenues for review of government decisions.

The report is available here.

West Yangon Township Court