Capacity Building with the Chinese Bar

Since 1995, the CBA and the All China Lawyers Association (ACLA) have worked together on issues that have been crucial to the development of an independent Bar in China:

  • Law practice management for the newly privatized profession
  • Licensing, Regulation and Discipline of the Profession
  • Developing linkages between members of the Profession in China at a local and national level
  • Institutional capacity building for the Bar
  • Training in substantive law where the issue affects the capacity of the profession.


Over the last ten years the ACLA has made tremendous strides within the context of a rapidly changing legal system and an exponentially growing legal profession. In 1996 the governing body of the ACLA was elected by the membership rather that being appointed by the Government. In 1997, under the newly passed Lawyers Act, the ACLA was officially recognized as the institution representing the legal profession in China independent from government. In that capacity it has increasingly taken on responsibility for regulating the profession. The ACLA has evolved from a government organization to having only one governmental official on staff at the national level.

The CBA has worked with the ACLA to support this transition. The effects of this work, undertaken through study tours, workshops and placements in Canada, has been:

  • to contribute to the sustainability of the privatization of the practice of law in China.
  • to contribute to the capacity of the bar to promote and take on the responsibilities for an independent profession, particularly in the areas of organization, training, regulation and discipline.
  • to create critical forums for dialogue around the development of the independent profession in China. The CBA program has facilitated meetings which have brought together the highest level of officials of the Bar Associations and the Ministry from every province and major city in China to discuss the continuing independence and organization of the Bar.