China access to justice initiative to continue until 2017

Managed by the British Council, and funded by the EU, we are pleased to announce that the China-EU Access to Justice Programme has been granted an extension by the EU to continue until August 2017.

The programme aims to strengthen the performance and provision of legal aid for people living in remote and less economically developed areas of China.

Since the programme began in 2013, significant development has been made in meeting its overall aims and objectives.  Specifically, the programme has achieved substantial progress by:

  • developing a national quality assurance criteria for civil legal aid cases
  • contributing to the development of guidelines for criminal lawyers’ performance in early stages and legal aid law legislation
  • setting up successful and mutually beneficial annual policy dialogues between China and the EU.           

Significant steps have also been made to introduce best practice principles, inspired by European policies and regulations, to improve legal aid services in the provinces. This includes:

  • establishing a national pool of expert legal aid peer reviewers
  • enhancing the skills and knowledge of 1500 Legal Aid Centre staff, 1500 paralegals, 2000 volunteer village coordinators and 60 social organisation representatives
  • enhancing cooperation among state and non-state legal aid service providers
  • improving access to legal aid for first-line services at village and township levels.

The programme will continue to encourage professional exchange between Europe and China, the aim being to circulate innovative practices amongst multiple Chinese provinces.

The achievements of the China-EU Access to Justice programme have been acknowledged through Results Oriented Monitoring (ROM). ROM, an independent review set up to monitor the design, implementation and performance of EU funded programmes, fully supported the extension of programme.

It is hoped the extension will enable sufficient time for any pilot projects to conclude and make a real impact. There are also plans in place to produce toolkits and manuals for wider dissemination.

Read more about the China-EU Access to Justice programme here.

 

October 2016