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What we do in Legal reform

The Legal Transition Programme (LTP) is the EBRD’s initiative to contribute to the improvement of the investment climate in the Bank’s countries of operations by helping create an investor-friendly, transparent and predictable legal environment. LTP activities focus on the development of legal rules and the establishment of the legal institutions and culture on which a vibrant market-oriented economy depends.

The Legal Transition Programme engages in:

  • Standard-setting: Participating in and contributing to international standard-setting initiatives. 
  • Assessment of laws and practice: Monitoring and analysing the status of legal transition in countries of operations and developing instruments for assessing legal risk for investments. More about Assessment of laws and practice
  • Outreach: Advancing legal reform through outreach activities including the legal journal Law in transition, the legal roundtable at the Annual Meeting and hosting and participation in various seminars. The work of the LTP was recently highlighted in an EBRD Newsletter.
    EBRD/NGO Newsletter (323KB - PDF)
  • Technical assistance: Developing and implementing technical assistance projects to support local authorities to establish investor friendly laws and sound institutions.  
    List of legal reform projects (290KB - PDF)
    - includes projects undertaken since 1996 and is updated twice a year.

The Legal Transition Programme is part of the EBRD's Office of the General Counsel. The team manages the EBRD’s legal reform work and related legal technical assistance projects. It has a specialised Financial Law Unit and also works closely with the Bank's project-focused lawyers to identify and overcome legal impediments to investments.

Donor grants from the EBRD's shareholders and other official bodies are the programme's primary funding source. In addition, lawyers and other professionals in private practice and in academia provide their services at a discounted rate or on a pro bono basis. The programme accepts practical support such as fellowship funding, training facilities and event publicity.

The EBRD has been written about and been referred to in several books and journals over the years. 
In the book entitled "Bankrupt: Global Lawmaking and System Financial Crisis" (Terence Halliday and Bruce Carruthers. Stanford University Press, 2009), the following is said of the EBRD;

"Of all the IFIs, the EBRD during the development of the Legal Transition Programme has been strongly influenced by interdisciplinary scholarship, most notably, sociolegal studies, development economics, law and development and institutional economics. The result is an unusually nuanced approach to the fundamental tension between global uniformity and national particularities that stalks all IFI initiatives".

EBRD staff have also written about issues relating to freedom of information and information access. This is an area of increasing relevance to the bank's activities.

Further reading:

Change Manager (3MB - PDF) 
The Legal Transition Programme turns attention towards nations affected by the Arab Spring.

Frequently asked questions - further information about the LTP.

Assessing legal systems (421KB - PDF) 
A catalyst for reform, Michel Nussbaumer. Beyond Transition, World Bank.

The EBRD Legal Assessment Work: an effective tool for promoting change (2MB - PDF)

Michel Nussbaumer, Searching for Success, Narrative Accounts of Legal reform in developing and transition countries. International Development Law Organisation (IDLO).

Last updated 13 November 2013