Why reform is needed
Since the EBRD began its work on legal transition in the 1990s, the legal framework for doing business in our regions has improved substantially. Similarly, judiciaries have shown improvements in independence and understanding of the market economy, while new legal mechanisms in such areas as dispute resolution have emerged as well as best practices that are being applied in the EBRD's new countries of operations. However, the enforcement of contracts and commercial laws continues to be problematic, which deters investors from participating in countries' markets for fear that their legal rights will not be protected. Digitalisation of courts and bailiff regimes, enabling participants to attend remotely, has also taken precedence, especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Such digitalisation increases transparency and reduces avoidable crowding at court facilities.
The LTP's role
The Legal Transition Programme (LTP) has recently devoted special attention to strengthening the enforcement of contracts and judicial capacity. The LTP runs wide-ranging commercial law judicial training projects in EBRD countries of operations. These projects typically aim to train pools of local judges who then work with international experts to deliver fundamental training to all judges hearing commercial matters in the given country. In addition, the LTP also seeks to promote the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), through advising governments on the upgrading of arbitration laws in accordance with the model law of the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL); the training of arbitrators; establishing court-annexed mediation facilities and mediation centres; and the training of mediators. Furthermore, the LTP is also involved in reforms to court structure and jurisdiction. This typically entails advising governments or agencies on how specialised commercial courts or chambers can improve the handling of commercial matters in a given country. The LTP has also been actively engaged in promoting digitalisation of court systems in emerging economies where it operates. Being able to attend court proceedings remotely is considered and important step in facilitating legal procedures and bolstering transparency.
Areas of Expertise
- Courts digital transformation and judicial capacity
- Alternative dispute resolution (commercial mediation)
- Enforcement regimes and enforcement officers (bailiffs)
- Dispute resolution assessments and standard setting