US lawyers to help China organise independent Bar

US lawyers are to assist China in developing measures to promote the rule of law.

The American Bar Association last week announced a historic agreement with the All China Lawyers Association (ACLA) to work together on a number of projects.

These include programmes to encourage the development of an organised independent Bar and training ACLA members in Bar organisation and management.

The ABA will also assist in providing legal training and education for ACLA members, including continuing legal education programmes in China.

Other tenets include selecting Chinese lawyers each year to train at US law firms and the exchange of US legal materials and computerised data with lawyers in China. There are also plans for a conference in Beijing.

Former ABA president Jerome Shestack said: “This is a historic opportunity for members of the legal community here and in China.

“We cannot overstate the importance of the rule of law in the increasing globalisation of the world economy and international institutions.”

He said he hoped that the exchange would encourage open dialogue on both sides and contribute to the progressive development of legal institutions and the law in China.

The arrangement is the result of last year's talks between the US government and China when it was agreed that the US would provide technical legal assistance through non-governmental organisations.