The 7th meeting of Ministers of (Law and) Justice of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States was virtually hosted by Indian Minister of Law & Justice, Communication and Electronics & Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad. The Indian side urged the SCO Member States to promote the exchange of ideas, best practices and experiences in identified areas through the platform. He also mentioned initiating Pro Bono Legal Services to provide free legal aid to marginalized sections of the society.
The virtual meeting was attended by justice ministers from China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, according to a statement by the Ministry Of Law and Justice. The Seventh Session of the Justice Ministers of SCO member states deliberated on areas of cooperation; emphasized the high relevance of mutual exchange of legal information on counteraction to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and acknowledged the need for cooperation in ADR mechanism area, among others.
The salient features of the Joint Statement are as under:
- To strengthen the work on the implementation of the Agreement on Cooperation between the Ministries of Justice of the SCO Member States (Dushanbe, 18 August 2015).
- To continue the work on the implementation of the Action Plans of the working groups of experts on forensic activities and legal services for 2018-2020, as well as to develop Action Plans for 2021-2023.
- Consider organizing exchange programs for representatives of the ministries (law and justice of the SCO member-states) to study the best practices in alternative dispute resolution.
- To continue discussing the parties’ positions on the issues of mutual legal assistance and development of legal services in accordance with national legislation.
- Actively develop cooperation with the ministries of justice of the SCO observer and dialogue partner states.
- Continue efforts to develop an online platform for the exchange of legal information, taking into account national laws.