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US AID Announces Large New Grant to the University of Massachusetts for Judicial Education in China

The John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies (MGS) at the University of Massachusetts has been awarded a $1.6 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (US AID) for a three year Project to improve the quality of justice in China through enhanced Judicial Education. The award was made under the "US-China University Collaboration on Rule of Law Program" (USAID-RDMA/A-China-486-07-017-RFA) issued by USAID/Bangkok.

The Massachusetts Judges Conference, the private association of the State's judges, and the American Bar Association will play important support roles in the Project. While the University of Massachusetts will serve as the prime contractor and will be responsible for implementation of the program and achievement of results, each organization will manage programming activities within its respective area of expertise.

UMass and its allies propose to work intensively with provincial judicial training colleges, legal and judicial educators and provincial high courts in China in support of the U.S. government's foreign policy interest in strengthening China's institutional judicial framework. The Project will be focused on USAID's overall objectives of developing higher education training institutions charged with developing host country capacity to support development objectives while also supporting legal reform, improving the administration of justice, and increasing citizens' access to justice. In furtherance of these objectives, three timely, inter-related, and substantive areas will be addressed: (1) applying rules of evidence in court procedures and developing enhanced court management of pre-trial discovery; (2) improving capacity to implement mediation practices currently being discussed as China reforms the Administrative Litigation Law and Civil Procedure Law; and (3) improving access to the courts through improved transparency of adjudication.
This new project builds upon eight years of successful prior rule of law programming by the University of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Judges Conference in China. The earlier projects, funded by the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, have included, among other innovative approaches, mock trials in six cities in China utilizing Massachusetts law, Massachusetts Judges and Massachusetts judicial procedure and a similar mock trial held at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Boston using Chinese law, judges, and procedures.

Learn more about the Enhanced Judicial Education program.

3/6/08