Valerie Hans Speaks at Judicial Training Institute in Thailand Ithaca, NEW YORK, May 8, 2018
From January 8 to 20, Valerie Hans, professor of law, visited Thailand for a series of talks and meetings hosted by the Thai Bar Association and the Thailand Institute of Justice. She undertook the trip at the encouragement of Dean Eduardo Peñalver and other faculty members, who previously visited Thailand following the 2016 signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two Thai organizations and Cornell Law School.
“It turned out to be good timing,” says Hans. “Many in the legal community were debating whether it would be advisable to include lay people as legal decision makers in Thai criminal courts, so I was able to contribute to that debate by summarizing my research on juries and lay judges in other countries.”
During her stay, Hans gave the keynote address, “Rule of Law: Civic Perspectives,” at the Judicial Training Institute’s Forum on Rule of Law and Sustainable Development. She also delivered a special lecture on public participation in the criminal justice system for an audience of one hundred judges and judicial officers and met with executives of the Thai Courts of Justice, Judicial Training Institute, Criminal Court, and Institute of Justice, as well as with researchers from the Institute.
“It was an honor to speak to judge trainees and judicial officers at Bangkok’s Judicial Training Institute,” she says, noting that her interpreter for the event was Cornell Law alumna and judge trainee Napakamol Havanond, LL.M. ’16, who was a student and advisee of Hans while earning her LL.M.
Hans adds, “It was also fascinating to see the innovative work being done at the Thailand Institute of Justice, a research institute devoted to work on the Thai legal and justice systems, which is led by Kittipong Kittayarak, LL.M. ’83.”
Additionally, Hans lectured and met with school executives at Thummasart University, Ramkhamhaeng University, and Chulalongkorn University. She also found time for some sightseeing (“Don’t miss Bangkok’s Reclining Buddha!”) and, for a portion of her stay, was joined by husband Michael Bend and son Zachary Bend ’18., who accompanied her at a reception hosted by Thai Cornell Alumni.
Reflecting on the exchange, Hans says, “I hope to see greater collaboration between Cornell Law students and faculty and the Thailand Institute of Justice. It would be a terrific experience for our students to observe and contribute to the Institute’s efforts to improve and reform the justice system in Thailand.”