China to Better Protect Lawyers’ Rights

11/24/2010 source: xinhua

China aims to better protect lawyers’ rights and facilitate their work through enhanced financial and policy support, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The ministry also intends to intensify supervision on the work of lawyers and law firms against unsound practices, it said on Tuesday.

Efforts will be made to better protect lawyers’ rights to meet with their clients in police custody and facilitate their rights to review documents, conduct necessary investigations and collect evidence, the ministry said in a written interview with Xinhua Tuesday.

The ministry, which has recently issued a circular on its proposal to further improve the work concerning lawyers, called for a system to guarantee funding for lawyers’ work.

“Lawyers should be subsidized if working as legal advisors to the government or providing legal services for the public interest,” the ministry said.

Also, government agencies are urged to continue their financial support for those government-funded law offices in underdeveloped regions of the country and offer more funding for lawyers’ training.

The ministry called on courts and prosecution agencies to recruit more judges and prosecutors from outstanding lawyers and encouraged government bodies to select more qualified lawyers to work as civil servants.

Meanwhile, China will improve the evaluation of lawful practices undertaken by the country’s lawyers and increase supervision over the work of law offices and lawyers, according to the ministry.

“Judicial administration departments should conduct annual checks of law firms’ work while bar associations should check lawyers’ lawful practices every year,” it said.

It called for intensified checks for unsound practices of law firms or lawyers, including those of undermining justice in law enforcement, public order, or legal rights and interests of the masses.

“Lawyers who ignore or violate laws and regulations governing lawyers’ practices should be dealt with seriously, including expulsion from the legal profession,” the ministry said.

Conditions and procedures which applicants should meet and pass before becoming certified lawyers must be strictly followed, the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the number of certified lawyers and law firms in China exceeded 166,000 and 15,000, respectively, at the end of 2009.

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