Single title

Rule of Law

by Thomas Pearson, Chanty Pisal

The article is part of the book series Cambodia 2040, which is published by Future Forum and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Cambodia. Enjoy the read!

When we talk about governance, we usually mean good governance, which results in good, though not perfect, outcomes. Human flourishing is much more likely when the rules are fair and fairly applied to all, which is a good definition of the rule of law. That definition leaves us with many questions, but it also provides a useful metric for examining the state of governance in a place like Cambodia, which has transformed itself into one where, in 2040, governance is fair, transparent, evenly applied and efficient.

Why should I read this chapter? ... because digital rule of law is the backbone of a nation's peace, security, justice, and prosperity!

Mr. Thomas Pearson and Mr. Chanty Pisal's vision for Cambodia's rule of law in 2040:

  • In 2040, Cambodia's governance is fair, transperent, evenly applied and efficient.
  • In 2040, Cambodia respects its treaty commitments as meaningful obligations to its own people as well as being a responsible member of the international community. 
  • The governance environment in 2040, which has remarkably emerged over the past two decades from the legal history sketched above, including piecemeal legal reform efforts, which had occurred unevenly since the 90s or, as noted, were used to legitimize authoritarian restrictions made significant strides in the early 2020s when a number of factors combined to threaten the kingdom’s average annual growth rate of eight percent. 

 

Short story: 

Sok Sopheap is the owner of a small wholesale company in Phnom Penh, supplying fresh produce as well as imported meats, cheese and wine to restaurants around the city. She started her business out of her house and took advantage of the six-month trial period for small businesses that allowed her to determine if her company would be profitable. Fortunately, her idea proved successful and she is now franchising out to other Cambodian entrepreneurs. When it came time to register her company, she took advantage of the online registration services offered by the Ministry of Commerce. The entire process took less than a week and she was not asked for an unofficial fee at any stage of the process. Sopheap is also confident that if a dispute arises with one of her suppliers or franchisees, she can take her dispute to court or the National Commercial Arbitration Center for resolution without worrying about corruption. 

She regularly imports food and wine from different parts of the globe and has never had her shipments held up by a customs official looking for payment under the table. The customs process itself involves only one form, which she completes online for her monthly shipment. In fact, she never needs to interact with a government official in person as all of the regulatory requirements and payments of official fees for ensuring her business is legally compliant may be processed online. Her delivery drivers fan out across the city each day and none of them has ever been asked for a bribe by a police officer. Sopheap plans to acquire some of her produce suppliers in the provinces and knows that she will receive a valid and legally enforceable title to any property that she purchases. No fears of unjust expropriation cross her mind as she weighs the risks and benefits of acquiring property. Her biggest concern is trying to get the best prices she can on high quality products for her customers.   

 

Enjoy your reading!

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Editor

Deth Sok Udom, Bradley J. Murg, Ou Virak, Michael Renfrew

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Phnom Penh

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