EUPLANT: EU-China Legal and Judicial Cooperation

EU-China Legal and Judicial Cooperation (EUPLANT) is a Jean Monnet Network that aims to study the interactions between the Chinese legal system and the European Union (EU) legal system. Since the establishment of the EU-China Strategic Partnership in 2003, the bilateral relationship between the EU and China has become increasingly comprehensive covering a wide range of economic, political, and people-to-people areas of cooperation. This Jean Monnet Network focuses on an aspect of the relationship that remains very much understudied even if it has arguably become a prominent area of cooperation in the EU-China Strategic Partnership and given rise to rule of law-based concerns. It is at the occasion of the 17th EU-China Summit that the EU and China decided that ‘it is necessary to deepen understanding of each other’s legal systems, and agreed to establish an EU-China Legal Affairs Dialogue for policy exchanges, mutual learning and cooperation in legal affairs’ (EU-China Summit 2015). EUPLANT aims to serve as a framework for academic support that will offer both theoretical and policy insights into the interactions between the Chinese and the EU legal and judicial systems in their broader geopolitical context. More particularly, the network will assess the extent to which legal transplants and enhanced judicial cooperation can lead to an increased regulatory convergence between the Chinese and EU legal frameworks. Against the background of what some regard as a deterioration of rule of law and increased pressures on civil society and the legal profession in China, EUPLANT will assess both the risks and opportunities of judicial and wider legal cooperation. EUPLANT will organise a set of research, policy, and outreach activities, which will create new avenues for enhanced academic and policy cooperation between the EU and China and engender a better understanding of each other’s legal systems.