Rule of Law Expedited: Land Title Reform and Justice in Burma (Myanmar)

TitleRule of Law Expedited: Land Title Reform and Justice in Burma (Myanmar)
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMcCarthy S
Secondary TitleAsian Studies Review
Key themesAccessToJustice, Dispossession-grabbing, FDI, Policy-law

The development of rule of law is touted as one of the most important considerations in Burma (Myanmar) today, yet its meaning is highly contested after fifty years of military rule. This paper will examine how the rule of law in Burma’s transitional political environment has been influenced by the legacies of military rule and the government’s development policies since 2011. A series of laws introduced by the Thein Sein government under the rubric of rule of law and good governance had a significant impact upon small hold farmers across the country. While some laws specifically related to farmers and their land, others encouraged private investment in the land used by farmers. The combined effect of these laws was to formalise the pattern of land grabbing that had developed under the previous government and to encourage land speculation. Moreover, they show how an expedited procedural rule of law incited conflict and further injustice. Any progress towards substantive justice and a more democratic rule of law must keep pace with improvements in the country’s limited administrative and judicial capacities. Whether, and how far, Burma can develop and move beyond a thin or procedural rule of law will be tested as the country experiences life under the NLD government.


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Document Type

Journal Article