Consolidating the Legal Framework for Sustainable Economic Development

Project description

Title: Consolidating the Legal Framework for Sustainable Economic Development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Mongolia
Lead executing agency: Mongolian Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs
Overall term: 2014 to 2017

Handover of the process-supporting specialist software ‘Zivil-2014’ to the Chief Justice of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar in October 2014.

Context

Mongolia is experiencing a period of economic resurgence and the country is undergoing restructuring into a modern market economy. The ministries responsible for regulation and law-making lack sufficient qualified and trained staff as well as established procedures and processes to consolidate the legal framework for extracting mineral resources and sustainable economic activity; the same applies to the judicial system.

The legislative process lacks transparency and is insular. Draft laws are frequently elaborated by one sole department, barely publicised, and rarely discussed in public. The legislator does not consult those affected by the regulations beforehand, so they have no opportunity to state their views and assert their interests. Furthermore, the courts and state prosecutors’ offices have shortcomings regarding effectiveness and service-orientation. The flow of information is hampered by inadequate information technology, separately maintained registers and different procedures operated by various judicial institutions.

All in all, law-making and the administration of justice in economic and mining law suffer from the fact that newly introduced methods, instruments, and procedures are not yet sufficiently understood by the staff involved, and are not being put into practice.

Objective

The judicial system and responsible ministries implement the methods, instruments, and procedures introduced to modernise law-making and administration of justice in economic and mining law.

Approach

Amid Mongolia’s economic reforms, the project supports the consolidation and further development of the legal framework for business activities, mining, and mineral resources management. It operates in two fields of activity.

Concerning economic and mining law as well as the legal framework for mineral resources management, its scope is to provide interdepartmental advice on legislation, including professional regulatory impact assessment. It facilitates the public discussion of reform proposals and provides in-service training measures for professionals in law-making institutions such as the parliament and ministries, as well as to those who apply the law, such as judges, state prosecutors as well as advocates. This cooperation gives rise to new draft bills, regulatory impact assessments, concepts for state economic regulation, and training modules and courses leading to professional qualifications for officials and law professionals.

In the process of the judicial reforms, the project contributes substantially to the nationwide introduction of offices for the courts and state prosecutors. It does so by providing the legal working groups with technical and legal advice on planning and phasing in the software and on installing a standardised electronic information network. Consequently, process analyses, procedural software, a comprehensible operation manual for the software supporting court proceedings, and corresponding training plans and courses for judicial staff have been made available. Further essentials of the programme are up-to-date client information in courts and state prosecutors’ offices as well as improved access to legal information, including the registers connected to the information network.

Results

An act on legislative procedure, which was drafted with support from the project, was adopted in May 2011. It enshrined in law the newly developed instruments and methods for improving the quality of legislation. This means that the guidance on legal formality and regulatory impact assessment, including cost calculation, is now binding for the entire government. Since 1 January 2012 all ministries have been obliged to carry out regulatory impact assessments on all draft laws. Training programmes are now disseminating this know-how to other departments.

In 2011, in cooperation with the Office of the President of Mongolia, the project instituted the Citizens’ Chamber, which ensures citizen participation in the legislative process. So far, 100 draft laws of national significance have been subject of public hearings. The Mining Act which came into force in July 2014 also received advisory input from the project.

The efficiency of courts and state prosecutors’ offices is improving as a result of restructuring and the introduction of offices, training and advisory services as well as new software. ‘Zivil-2014’, a new specialist software product for supporting court proceedings for all three instances of civil jurisdiction, was developed and tested before being introduced countrywide in August 2014.

The introduction of new specialist software allows support staff to take over technical administrative tasks within the state prosecutors’ office, such as maintaining registers and recording data. Studies carried out in May 2014 show that the technical administrative workload of judges and state prosecutors has been reduced by around 60 per cent as a result, enabling them to work more professionally and efficiently.