Legality and Socialist Legality

In Pham v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] UKSC 19, the UK Supreme Court held that the refusal of the Vietnamese Government to recognise Minh Pham's nationality was not a decision “by operation of law.” It did so by forming its own view on the meaning of socialist law. In doing so, it took an ecumenical approach to the relationship between the government and its judiciary. In fact, law and legality take on new and distinctive meanings in socialist jurisdictions with important implications for decisions like Pham. This paper draws the concept of legality into sharper relief engaging with new reserach on China and Vietnam in Fu, Gillespie, Nicholson and Bartlett’s Socialist Law in Socialist East Asia.