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Evolution in the Concept of Development: How Has The World Bank’s Legal Assistance Extended its Reach?

Discussion Papers


March 2008


The World Bank’s legal and judicial reforms programs have expanded considerably since it began to address the issue of governance in the early 1990s. Initially the Bank focused on legal reforms for inducing private investment. Currently, its legal assistance extends to include the criminal justice sector. Such activities cannot be directly construed from its Articles of Agreement. This paper will discuss how the Bank interpreted its Articles in order to ligitimize its expanding activities. The Bank has manoeuvred itself into the criminal justice sector by skillfully changing its concept of development without deviating from its mandate. The change can be described as an ‘evolution’ which has allowed the Bank to identify any area as target for its development assistance.

Keywords: The World Bank, legal assistance, development assistance, legitimacy

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