Supported by the British Council, the EU-funded China–EU Access to Justice programme aims to improve the performance of legal aid provision for people in remote and inaccessible areas of China.
On the 8 and 9 September 2015, the China-EU Legal Aid Policy Dialogue Conference was held in Beijing to enhance friendship and understanding between China and Europe and deepen exchanges in the legal aid field.
The conference focused specifically on criminal legal aid and was attended by the Vice Minister of Justice for China, alongside other ministers and senior officials.
For Alistair MacDonald QC, Chairman of the Bar of England and Wales, who attended the conference, it was clear that ‘China has developed a significant infrastructure with which to provide legal aid at provincial, city and village level.’ He added, ‘It was refreshing to hear the frank comments from those who were delivering legal aid ‘on the ground’.
The dialogue provided an opportunity for participants to learn more about the differences between the Chinese and EU legal systems and to engage in discussions about how to deliver effective and efficient legal aid within the framework of the Chinese justice system.