Between an Imagined Affinity, the State and ASEAN: The Sources of Regional Human Rights Norms

The transition to an investee State necessitates reforms in the financial, corporate and public sectors. This paper focuses on reforms in the area of human rights. Using a case study of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, it illustrates that reforms are being shaped by two forces. National courts and human rights institutions are bypassing the State and relying on their imagined global affinity as source of norms. In turn, the State is taking back control of the narrative by side-lining courts and human rights institutions, and in effect threatening to relapse into its authoritarian civil order past. This paper concludes that in this crisis ASEAN can mediate by formalizing and institutionalizing human rights through a process that involves the State and absorbs some of the political externalities that burden courts and human rights institutions.

The Rise of Regulatory State in ASEAN E-Commerce Market – Legislating Electronic Signatures in the Times of Commercial and Technological Innovations

E-commerce is redefining the landscape of ASEAN economy. Nevertheless, the prospect for a sustainable growth of ASEAN e-commerce would be dismal unless states maintain a clear and predictable legal framework for e-commerce. The primary focus of this research is electronic signature law, one of the most foundational areas in e-commerce legislation. The paper specifically selects Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam for investigation – the four leading ASEAN countries in the rapidly transforming regional e-commerce market. As this paper finds, under the influences of global, regional and comparative practices, these countries have developed their own domestic electronic signature regulation through various legislative and administrative measures. The paper demonstrates a trend of regulatory convergence developed in ASEAN states governing the use of electronic signatures, and explains the features of this trend.

Judicial Transplantation as a Backdoor to Environmental Normative Integration in ASEAN

This paper argues that Southeast Asian judiciaries hold a backdoor key that would allow the incorporation of environmental norms in a region sensitive to international law intruding on domestic sovereignty. Although the level of receptiveness may vary, decisions and rules crafted by a select ASEAN judiciaries indicate a growing openness to applying environmental law principles from multilateral agreements, national laws, and foreign court decisions. The past six meetings of the ASEAN Chief Justices’ Roundtable on Environment further exemplify the eagerness of judges to study each other’s laws and enforcement mechanisms to help them develop their own nation’s environmental jurisprudence. The collective behavior of these judiciaries suggests that legal transplantation by way of court decisions can potentially serve as a viable alternative towards the convergence of environmental norms in the region.