Sino-German legal cooperation programme
Title: Sino-German Legal Cooperation Programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: People’s Republic of China
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Justice (MOJ) of the People’s Republic of China
Overall term: 2019 to 2022
In just a few decades, the People’s Republic of China has undergone a globally unique economic and social transformation. However, this economic success has been accompanied by new societal tensions, economic challenges and environmental impacts. China’s political leadership is therefore increasingly working towards a more socially balanced, inclusive and environmentally sound economic model. Strengthening rule-of-law structures is viewed as a key factor here. However, the Chinese understanding of the rule of law differs in many respects from European rule-of-law models. Nonetheless, China is also looking at the legal situation in industrialised nations and post-industrial countries when implementing its reforms. Traditionally, it has paid particular attention to German law – and this interest is not restricted to material law alone. Methods of standardisation and the application of standards are also attracting ever greater interest in China. However, China must have an adequate understanding of these foreign role models if it is to successfully use them for its own legal development. It is in Germany’s interests to better understand the legal situation in China. This will make it easier to recognise where cooperation between the two countries is possible and required. Also of interest to Germany is establishing a deeper understanding of German and European law in China. This could support Chinese reforms that aim to strengthen the rule of law, which in turn contributes to sustainable global development in the world’s most populous country. What is more, this improves the investment environment for the German economy.
Cooperation between Germany and the People’s Republic of China and a mutual understanding of selected legal policy and legal topics relating to government, business and society are enhanced.
The project offers dialogue platforms, including multi-day symposiums and seminars at which legal practitioners discuss topics relating to China’s reform process. At the same time, from a professional standpoint, it supports the annual legal symposium involving the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) and the Chinese Ministry of Justice. With the aid of a grant from the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the project organises an exchange between Chinese and German judges and lawyers, allowing them to learn about legal topics and issues relating to professional ethics. The project also trains experts and professionals in China’s national and regional legislation. Here, particular attention is paid to imparting methods of standardisation, for instance evaluation of standards and regulatory impact analysis. At the same time, the project holds training events to share German and European experiences of selected legal topics. Finally, the project familiarises practitioners from Chinese ministries and the Chinese administration and judiciary, other legal professionals and young legal experts with German and European methods of applying standards under the rule of law.
This project is a continuation of the Sino-German Legal Cooperation Programme (2016–2019), also commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The predecessor project shared concepts from continental European legislation with Chinese experts and professionals from legislative bodies. This advisory content has been included in the general part of the Civil Code, the law against domestic violence, the law on electronic commerce and the law on international legal assistance in criminal cases. Other legislative proposals drawn up with the advice of the project are on the verge of being adopted.
More than 10,000 judges from across China are now applying the knowledge on legal methodology acquired through training courses run in cooperation with the National Judges College of the People’s Republic of China, in their day-to-day work. These training courses and an accompanying eight-volume series of textbooks on legal methodology have become an integral part of the curriculum of the National Judges College. 2,800 judges from both countries have already participated in the German-Chinese Judge Exchange Program and gained a nuanced picture of the legal situation and professional status of their colleagues in the other country.