Cambodian Tax – Sovereignty Gained, Sovereignty Lost?

This week we have Adam Glen, member of the Cambodian Department of Taxation Technical Working Group speaking. We look forward to welcoming everyone to this talk on Thursday April 29th, 17:00-18:00 online. Please contact May Hen-Smith ( or Guy Mulley ( for the link. More information on other meetings can be found under the “Meetings” tab.


Adam Glen sits in the unique position of being a non-Khmer who has been advising the Cambodian government about the development of the country’s tax system.

For the past 600 years, Cambodia has been attempting to both survive and regain its Sovereignty. For a brief period in the second decade of the 21st century, Cambodia managed to partially reclaim its Sovereignty through the improvement in tax revenue collection due to the successful application of Tax Law. Being a dual currency economy it has not yet achieved Fiscal Sovereignty as it is pegged to the US Dollar but in other aspects Sovereignty was re-established. However, the lack of development in Administrative Law means that events since 2013 have resulted in Sovereignty migrating from the Constitution to the Executive.

Setting his presentation in a geo-political and historical context, Adam will consider the economic, constitutional and legal influences that have helped to shape Cambodia’s emerging tax system.

Speaker Biography:

Adam began his working life as a fraud investigator in Australia, before moving into the IT sector to specialise in corporate governance and regulatory compliance, working in Europe, Russia and the Middle East. Since 2012 he has been helping various departments of the Cambodian government, notably in advising Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on Tax Law.

Adam started his working life in accountancy with a Chartered Accountant in Australia working on fraud investigation but, when it moved to audit, sanity prevailed and he moved to the UK to serve as an infantry platoon commander in the British Army. After escaping from that job he started work in the IT industry. He spent time in East Europe, Central Europe, Russia and the Middle East supporting subsidiary companies in corporate governance, regulatory compliance and high-value contractual disputes. In 2006, at 56, he attended Edgehill University where he obtained a 1st Class Honours in Law. Subsequently, he presented at the BILETA conference on the technical issues in enforcing copyright law against file-sharers. After working for two questionable Law firms in the UK as a paralegal he decided not to follow a career in Law but rather focus upon applied law.

In 2012 he volunteered with VSO as a Strategic Advisor to the Department of Fisheries in Phnom Phen. His first introduction to Cambodian Law was Cambodian Labour Law and Contract Law while negotiating changes to employment and procurement contracts.

On retirement, he volunteered to help Cambodia NGOs to understand their legal obligations, strategic planning and organisational change. In 2016 he was asked to help NGOs with Cambodian Tax Law and has continued that work. In 2019 he was co-opted by the Ministry of Economy and Finance to sit on a Technical Working Group to examine and advise on Tax Law related to NGOs. He is the only non-Khmer person in that Working Group. From a viewpoint of the development of Cambodia, he tries to restrict his work to advising, educating, knowledge transfer, mentoring and guiding Khmer citizens. He is not paid for any of his work.

In addition to his UK law degree, Adam has completed Diplomas in Cambodian Tax Law and Cambodian Company Law. He lives in Cambodia, his wife is Khmer, he does not speak Khmer and now, after 9 years, speaks broken English and Australian.