Legal Reform overview

Statua with scale

Promoting sound and well-functioning legal systems minimizes risk and assists in the development of an attractive investment climate. The EBRD's Legal Transition Programme contributes to the improvement of the investment climate in the Bank's regions by helping to create investor-friendly, transparent and predictable legal environments in the countries where we invest.

We focus on developing the legal rules, institutions and culture on which a vibrant market-oriented economy depends. In particular, we do this through:

Standard-setting. The Bank participates in and contributes to international standard-setting initiatives.

Assessment of laws and practice. We monitor and analyse the status of legal transition in the countries where we invest and develop measurement tools to assess the legal risk for the Bank's investments. Specific sector assessments benchmark the development of key legal sectors in each country against international or harmonised standards while country law assessments provide a means of judging the progress made by a single country in making its commercial laws internationally acceptable.

Assisting governments. The Bank develops and implements technical cooperation projects in the countries where we invest, which are designed to support local authorities in establishing investor-friendly legal systems.

Outreach. The EBRD collaborates widely in order to advance legal reform and practices. The Bank coordinates closely with other international financial institutions, international organisations and bilateral assistance providers as well as a number of academic institutions in order to facilitate discussion and further publicise best practice.

In addition, the Legal Transition Programme aims to build a body of knowledge of the existing legal frameworks so as to make potential country projects more efficient in terms of input versus outputs as well as more relevant for the country itself.

The Programme focuses on the topics which are most relevant to the EBRD's investment activities and in which the Bank has accumulated the most experience. These currently are:

  • encouraging access to finance, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

  • encouraging better corporate governance for companies and financial institutions

  • promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy

  • supporting the development of telecommunications and information and communication technology

  • strengthening institutional context by supporting debt resolution and restructurings

  • strengthening courts performance in contract enforcement

  • developing local capital markets (including money markets)

  • improving the food chain by developing pre- and post-harvest financing tools

  • supporting more efficient regulatory frameworks for natural resources sectors

  • promoting public-private partnerships in public infrastructure projects

  • strengthening public procurement.

Financial Law Unit

The Financial Law Unit within the EBRD's Legal Transition Team is a specific, dedicated unit focussing on products (debt and equity), and institutions (regulator, financial institutions, courts, registries, etc.) needed for an efficient financial and corporate sector.

The work of the Financial Law Unit encompasses the areas of access to finance, capital markets, corporate governance and debt restructuring and bankruptcy, and, but also engages in work on interdisciplinary themes and projects. By taking a wider view of the legal framework supporting the financial and corporate sector, the Financial Law Unit provides an integrated platform for legal reform at all stages of transition, as well as for cutting-edge research on law and economics in this area.


Starting with the Secured Transactions Project in 1992, the Legal Transition Programme (LTP) has always had a strong focus on issues affecting access to credit and finance in the EBRD region. The further work of LTP on banking, corporate governance, insolvency, and securities markets has solidified its expertise in law reform affecting all stages of the financial life cycle in countries at all levels of transition. The onset of the global financial crisis in 2008 exposed a need for a more integrated approach to law reform in these areas, with a focus on implementation issues and distressed debt.

The EBRD’s unique position as an investor in the countries where it works enables the Financial Law Unit to leverage the EBRD's experience as a market participant to support comprehensive reform work across disciplines, sectors, and institutions.

Today, the Financial Law Unit works to support the EBRD’s mission by contributing to international standard-setting initiatives, monitoring and assessing the status of financial laws in countries where the EBRD works, engaging in technical cooperation activities with local authorities, and producing research and publications to support the understanding of financial law and legal reform in transition economies.

Themes include:

  • Agricultural finance

  • Capital markets (debt, equity and derivatives transactions)

  • Credit reporting systems

  • Debt enforcement and non-performing loans

  • Corporate Governance

  • Factoring

  • Financial Institutions

  • Insolvency and debt restructuring (including out of court)

  • Insolvency administrators regulation

  • Leasing

  • Secured Transactions


Financial Law Unit Contact
Jelena Madir
Chief Counsel and Head of Financial Law Unit
Legal Transition Programme
Tel +44 (0)20 7338 7289