Articles & Updates

Enforcement of Contracts in Laos

[:en]Here in Laos there is a system of ‘notarising’ and ‘registering’ various documents that are used in everyday life and for business purposes, and is generally a requirement in enforcing contracts.[:]

Australian Business Forum for Bilateral Trade & Investment

[:en]On 11 October 2012, the Australian Embassy, the Lao National Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Australia-New Zealand Business Association held a Lao Australia Business Forum (LABF) at the Lao Plaza Hotel, Vientiane.[:]



The Lao PDR enjoys a monsoonal climate and has many rivers, including the mighty Mekong.  The hydropower industry is well developed and is supported by the Government.

A number of reasonably complicated agreements are needed to put together a hydropower project, all of which we can assist you with – from the beginnings of your investigations to closing your deal.

Corruption: Don’t do it!

Corruption in Laos

‘Corruption’ can be defined in many ways.  At its simplest, it can be described as the abuse of public power or position for personal advantage.  Corruption is an offence under the laws of the Lao PDR, as well as in many other countries.

Some countries impose penalties on its own citizens for corrupt activities committed in other jurisdictions.

We recommend that you do not participate in any activities that could be deemed corrupt.

Joint Venture Agreements


When investors come to bedding down their plans with their business partners, the best way to try to ensure their business proceeds as smoothly as possible is to document the agreements between the parties in ‘contracts’. These contracts come in many shapes and sizes.

When two parties, whether companies or individuals, decide to undertake a particular project together, they will sometimes create a ‘Joint Venture Agreement’ to keep a record of what each party has agreed to do. Joint Venture Agreements are usually used when the two parties have agreed to do certain things together, but are not forming a company together.

Just to complicate things even more, a Joint Venture Agreement will not be needed in every situation, or a Joint Venture Agreement may be combined with a Shareholders Agreement.

No-one likes having to use lawyers when they are doing business – this is a fact of life!

However, the reality is that ironing out the specific tasks and joint goals of a project before starting in the exciting things you are planning to do can save a lot of headaches and much greater lawyers’ bills down the track if your business relationship deteriorates.

A Joint Venture Agreement will set out the specific milestones the two (or more) parties are trying to achieve. Importantly, it will also set out who pays for what and what to do if one party does not do or pay for what they originally agreed.

Remember – not every project or business relationship will need a Joint Venture Agreement. For more information please contact one of our experienced corporate and commercial lawyers.

Mining and Mineral Exploration

Mining & Mineral Exploration

As you may be aware, mining and mineral exploration are hot topics in the Lao PDR.  McDonald Steed McGrath has strong links to the exploration and mining industries here.

However, you should be aware that these industries are very sensitive here, as they are in every country.

In the last two decades the Lao Government has developed its expertise in assisting companies to invest in these industries.

We can assist you to navigate through the process of applying for the various necessary licences.

For more information on mineral exploration and mining please contact one of our experienced mining lawyers.


Land in Lao PDR

Land in Lao

A very important question for investors is what rights can they acquire over land in the Lao PDR.

Foreigners are not able to own land here, but they can have long term leases over land.

There have been some recent legislative changes potentially allowing foreigners to own land, but the extent of these changes is not clear yet.

For more information on land use rights please contact one of our experienced commercial lawyers.



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