Law Concept in ASEAN Economic Community – A Study of e-Commerce Legal Modernization
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This research project is an investigation of the regional legal regime in the ASEAN Community. The thesis has adopted a functional, rather than conceptual, approach to understand the regional legalism of ASEAN. The study also provides a contemporary topic related to highlights of the ASEAN’s recent engagement in the regional economic integration to help understand the historic background of its community-building. The main question in this thesis is what law regime of ASEAN Community without supranational structures is, in which the thesis narrows the case study on development of e-commerce law of ASEAN under economic community-building. To answer this question, the thesis firstly investigates the ground of regional integration and legalization in the Community-building, where ASEAN has adopted an instrumentalist conception of the legalism and one based on ‘thin’ constitutionalism. The features of the legal regime in the ASEAN Community are – state-controlled, limited, evolutionary and resting on soft legal regime unlike the European Union that depends more on hard law regime. Despite this, it is argued that even though the European Union model is often utilized as a mother of inspiration, each regional integration bears different model constituent in order to make the best adapt to their regional or local contexts. This thesis examines the ASEAN’s approach in developing regional legal system through the case of e-commerce law development, as well as the challenges in connection with the legal regime and e-commerce laws under the regional integration. The thesis establishes the findings to the exact legal development methods taken by ASEAN in chasing regional e-commerce law and policy. The findings indicate that ASEAN applies a soft legal regime through approach of legal harmonization regarding substantivate commerce law, while abstaining from building a centralized representative body or institution. The study also reveals that although ASEAN has made a great progress in developing principles of e-commerce law among ASEAN jurisdictions and series of e-commerce laws are developed and harmonized, but the complex legal and institutional regime can significantly undermine implementation and enforcement of regional laws of ASEAN. and remain some key challenges.