Canada China Legal Aid and Community Legal Services Project

In November 2002, CBA and IBM Business Consulting Services (formerly PWC Consulting) signed a contract with CIDA’s Bilateral Branch to implement the Canada-China Legal Aid and Community Legal Services Project (CCLAS).  The CBA is primarily responsible for the management and implementation of the project and in that regard is working closely with Legal Aid Ontario (LAO). 

The term of the CCLAS project is four years and the funding from CIDA is $3.8 million.  The CBA is working with the Chinese Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the MOJ’s National Legal Aid Center (NLAC), to implement the project.

The goal of this project is to increase China’s capacity to improve governance, respect for human rights and the democratic development process. The purpose of the project is to strengthen China’s legal aid and community legal services systems and to enhance the capacity of the MOJ to govern this area.

The project has been designed to provide support at both the national and local levels. At the national level, the CBA is working with China’s National Legal Aid Centre (NLAC) to build capacity in the areas of legislative and policy development (including establishing financial and eligibility requirements), training for government officials, research, financial sustainability and management and oversight of legal aid services. At the local level, the project has been designed to develop model legal aid centres in four of China’s poorest provinces by supporting training, management and administrative structures as well as public legal education.


At the national level, the project is strengthening and assisting with the development of:

  • A legal and policy framework to govern China’s legal aid system;
  • Standard eligibility criteria for legal aid;
  • Training programs for government officials to supervise and support the legal aid system;
  • NLAC’s research capacity
  • Public legal education on the role and availability of legal aid services;
  • A sustainability strategy; and
  • Strategies on women’s rights and disadvantaged groups such as youth, elderly, handicapped, and migrant workers, namely the CCLAS Target Groups.

In the four pilot provinces, the project worked on strengthening:

  • structures for the management and administration of legal aid centres;
  • financial sustainability of the legal aid centres;
  • training skills for staff and legal aid lawyers and workers;
  • public legal awareness on the role and availability of legal aid services and public legal education; and
  • legal aid services available to target groups including women.