Technical Assistance for Legal Development in the People's Republic of China: A Review

Date: July 2012
ISBN: 978-92-9092-752-5 (print), 978-92-9092-753-2 (web)
Price: US$26.00 (paperback)


Legal development in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been an essential part of the country's transformation over the last 3 decades. Since 1986, ADB has supported the country's socioeconomic development through loans for high-priority development projects and through technical assistance (TA) in many areas, including the legal sector. ADB has provided more than $13 million for 26 TA projects in the PRC aimed at developing economic laws and at strengthening implementation capacity for a market-oriented legal and judicial system. Areas of focus have included:

  • general support to the legal system for the market economy;
  • environmental law and policy development;
  • public procurement reform;
  • banking and finance sector reforms; and
  • insolvency reform policy support.

ADB’s legal TA was able to have a significant impact on legal development in the PRC and that it facilitated the country's participation in the international system. Dissemination of the knowledge and experience of international and local experts under ADB's legal TA was particularly important in light of the nature of the PRC's legal transition to a more open system, as was broadening channels to the outside world. The choice of ADB TA mechanisms demonstrated the benefits of long-term strategic structuring, leveraging external contributions, and the importance of institution building.

Equally noteworthy are the key lessons from past success that may prove useful in legal TA more generally. Factors for success included the selection of projects according to the counterpart’s reform plans, the ability to respond to unexpected events, and careful attention to project implementation and staffing.

These elements strategic selection, readiness for reform, and compatibility with counterpart reform plans serve to highlight the critical importance to sustainable TA of genuine national commitment and support. The extensive, long-term commitment of PRC authorities to legal system development and reform is evident throughout the report.


  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Legal System Development in the People’s Republic of China 
  • ADB Legal Technical Assistance for the People’s Republic of China 
  • Lessons for Technical Assistance and Legal Development 
  • Future Reforms and Collaboration 
  • References
  • Appendixes