UK expert to advise China

SOUTHAMPTON Institute professor and legal aid expert Professor Jeremy Cooper is to form part of a delegation advising the Chinese government on developing its legal aid system.

Professor Cooper, dean of the institute's law faculty, is due to join two US delegates and one Indian delegate this week in hosting the first four days of a week-long Beijing conference outlining different types of legal aid systems in the world.

The final three days of the conference will be attended by 70 Chinese government representatives and delegates involved in legal aid. They will discuss the future development of the Chinese system.

The event is a joint initiative between the Chinese ministry of Justice and the US democracy development organisation International Republican Institute.

Cooper said China, which has a population of one billion, has only 60 legal aid centres where counsel are offered for serious crimes, and advice and mediation is provided for family disputes and debts.

The Chinese Ministry of Justice announced in May that it wished to establish a national legal aid centre in Beijing, pumping more money in to training lawyers and building a legal aid system.