Chapter 14. English in Southeast Asian law

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To a large extent, the importance of English in a given Southeast Asian legal system reflects the extent to which the polity in which it is situated is perceived as an ESL rather than an EFL society. Thus Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar and Hong Kong SAR, which were British colonies, Brunei, a former British protectorate, and the Philippines, a former American colony, have all evolved into societies in which an influential section of the population uses English in a variety of local domains and above all in the legal one. Conversely, polities once colonised by non-anglophone countries (Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Macao SAR) and those that avoided colonisation altogether (Thailand) have legal systems in which English plays a minor role at best.


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