Past Projects

Since 1990 the CBA’s International Initiatives Program has been active in various regions around the world:

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The Bangladesh Legal Reform Project improved access to justice for the indigent through strengthened legal aid programs. From 2003-2012, Bangladesh went from offering essentially no legal aid to committing to operate legal aid offices in all 64 of it judicial districts. Working in partnership with Bangladesh’s Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, the project was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), now known as Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), and valued at $10.99 million.

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In 2005, the Support for Legal Aid in the Caribbean project assessed how legal aid could be supported and expanded using information technology. Reports provided frameworks and benchmarks for legal aid development in the Bahamas, Belize, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. The project was linked to an initiative of the Organization of Commonwealth Caribbean Bar Associations. The Inter-American Development Bank provided funding valued at $64,340.

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In 1990 the CBA responded to the massive changes in Central and Eastern Europe by beginning a legal internship program to train more than 75 lawyers from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. Other activities followed throughout the 90s, culminating in 1997 with strengthened linkages between the legal professions in Canada and Central and Eastern Europe. Funding sources included Foreign Affairs Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency, and was valued at $2.8 million with CBA volunteers contributing almost $2 million in-kind.

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Between 1995 and 2014 the CBA undertook various projects in China. We collaborated with our Chinese partners and colleagues on institutional capacity development, support for criminal justice system reform and improving the provision of legal aid:

Funding for all projects was provided by the Canadian International Development Agency, with a total value of $11.5 million. CBA volunteers contributed the in-kind equivalent of more than $1 million of that amount.

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From the late 1990s to date, the overall goal of the programs in Eastern Africa was to improve access to justice through strengthening the institutional capacity of bar associations and lawyers. Later the program included strengthening collaborative approaches between justice system stakeholders. Participating countries were Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The program is ongoing with funding from the Government of Canada. We are currently building on this earlier work through the Supporting Inclusive Resource Development in East Africa Project.

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The 2006-2007 Comprehensive Review of the Jamaican Justice System Project explored strategies and modernization mechanisms to make Jamaica’s justice system more efficient, accessible, accountable, fair and able to deliver timely results cost-effectively. The final report in 2007 by the Jamaican Justice System Reform Task Force outlined recommendations for modernizing the administration, operation and structure of the justice system. Funding was provided by the Government of Jamaica with a total project value of $950,000 USD.

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Developing Democracy in Nepal comprised two projects between 2007 and 2011. Results included a more inclusive and effective proposed constitution, with specific provisions on fundamental rights under a federal government structure. The Canadian International Development Agency funded the projects with a total value of $3.5 million, of which CBA volunteers contributed $1.7 million in-kind.

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Starting in the late 1990s, the overall goal of a program in Southeast Asia was to improve access to justice through strengthening the institutional capacity of bar associations and lawyers. Target countries in Southeast Asia were Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam. The program was ongoing until 2012, with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency.

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The Canada/South Africa Constitutional Litigation and Legal Development Project was a two-phased project that began in 1996 and was expanded regionally in 1999. Program impacts included significant litigation successfully argued before the Constitutional Court that led to landmark decisions entrenching extensive rights in the new South Africa. President Nelson Mandela and others sent letters commending the Government of Canada for the project. In 2003 the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) awarded the project the prestigious SNC-Lavalin Award for Improvement to Social Infrastructure. Funding came from CIDA with a total project value of $9.6 million.

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From 2010 to 2014, the CBA undertook a four-year contract to provide long-term technical assistance for Support to the Vietnam Bar Federation. Outcomes have included developing and implementing a framework to facilitate more empowered lawyers in Vietnam, including a national Code of Conduct. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Danida) provided funding of $2 million.

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For years, Zimbabwe struggled to counter attempts to undermine the independence of the judiciary and intimidate lawyers trying to uphold the country’s constitution, the rule of law and human rights. This led to a project called Strengthening the Rule of Law in Zimbabwe. From 2003-2006 the CBA supported the Law Society of Zimbabwe by helping to protect the rule of law in the country. Funding support came from the Canadian International Development Agency and was valued at $335,000.