On the whole, the Chinese people are not very familiar with the workings of their legal system and show relatively little legal awareness. This poses one of the major challenges to the process of transforming the People’s Republic of China into a nation governed by the rule of law. Individuals and businesses alike frequently avoid going to court because they lack an understanding of their legal position or the ways in which they can seek legal protection and cannot assess their prospects of a successful outcome to the proceedings. Although the number of lawyers in China has grown to over 270,000 in recent years, in many cases they do not adequately fulfil their role as mediators between the law and society. The programme is therefore supporting China’s objective to reform and improve the quality of professional legal advice.
The objective of this field of activity is to help make Chinese citizens more aware of their legal rights and of the various ways in which they can assert these in court. To this end, the programme organises training for lawyers and advises the Chinese Government on measures to promote the further development of the system for an organised legal profession.
The programme cooperates in this field of activity with the Chinese Ministry of Justice, which is the main body responsible for raising legal awareness, and with the All China Lawyers Association, whose mandate includes the initial and continuing training of lawyers.
With a view to strengthening the legal profession, the Sino-German Legal Cooperation Programme offers initial and continuing professional training courses for lawyers. The focus is on teaching judicial practice methods designed to ensure consistent legal findings. Moreover, the programme supports the endeavours of the All China Lawyers Association to improve the quality assurance system for legal services and facilitates the Association’s cooperation with German institutions. The Sino-German Exchange for Lawyers scheme, which was launched in 2015, is part of this work.