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The Law on Lawyers in China, part 1: China lawyer and law firms

Time:2014-03-13 Hit:1718

The Law on Lawyers in China,  part 1: China lawyer and law firms
  The lawyer in China has increased dramatically in recently years, at the beginning of 2000, there were some 111,000lawyers working in more than 9,300 law firms in China. However, there is a continuing shortage of well-trained lawyers to cope with the nation’s changing economic and political environment. 
  The law of People’s Republic of China on lawyers was initially promulgated on 15 May 1996, revised on 29 December 2001 and recently revised on 28 October 2007, effective from 1 June 2008. The 2007 revision was made mainly to improve lawyer’s practice environment and to protect lawyer’s rights in the course of proceeding, including the right to interview suspects, inspect case files, conduct investigations and collect evidence, and the right to be exempted from legal liability fir their defending speeches in court.
  As china’s economy is continuously developing, lawyers in China are playing an increasingly role in handing commercial litigation and non-litigation matters.
  The law of people’s republic of China on lawyers also vests in the ministry of justice the power to grant special legal practice certificate to applicants with specialized knowledge such as in intellectual property, international trade, finance, securities, anti-dumping, anti-trust.
  The certificate of lawyer to practice law shall be renewed every year, in certain area, such as securities, commercial bidding and corporate restricting involving state-owned assets; lawyers are required to undergo special training.
  The law of People’s Republic of China permits Chinese lawyers to perform similar functions as lawyers in other countries. Chinese lawyers are allowed to perform to the following tasks stated in the said law on lawyers in China.
 1, acting as a legal adviser for natural persons, legal persons and other organizations;
 2, acting as a representative and participating in ligation for a party to a civil or administrative action;
3, providing legal advice to and acting as defense counsel for a suspect in a criminal case;
4, representing the suspect on appeal, lodging complains and applying for bail while awaiting trail;
5, acting as a representative in private prosecution for the private prosecutor;
6, appealing in various types of lawsuit on behalf of clients;
7, participating in mediation and arbitration activities for the party concerned;  
8, providing legal assistance for a client involved in a non-litigation legal mater;
9,providing consultative advice on legal questions and drafting documents in connection with litigation and other legal matters on behalf of clients.
  In all court cases, lawyers have the right to inspect, extract and copy relevant litigation documents and files, may apply to the people’s courts to collect evidence and may apply the people’s court to summon witness to take the witness stand. The lawyer’s arguments in court are exempted from legal liability, and their personal rights in the course of legal practice may not be infringed.
  In addition, lawyers who are ex-judges or ex-prosecutors are not permitted to serve as a legal representative or defense counsel within two years of leaving their post at the People’s Republic of China’s court.
  Law firms in China
At present, there are mainly two types of law firms in China as described as follows:
Partnership law firms 
  This type of firm has been permitted since 1993 on a trial basis. All assets of the firm are contributed by the partners and belonged to the firm. The revised law on lawyers allows two types of partnership: general partnership and special general partnership. Partnership in a general partnership law firm bear unlimited joint and several liability, and partners in special partnership law firm bear liability according to their special arrangement in the bearing of liabilities by partners. A partnership law firm must have at least three partners and the founder must have at least three years practice experience.

  Single lawyer law firms
  This is a new form of law firm recognized for the first time by the revised law. The lawyer bears unlimited liability to the law firm. In accordance with the article 14 of the law of the People’s Republic of China on Lawyers certain conditions must be satisfied in order to establish a law firm in China.
  The lawyer in a single law firm must have at least five years legal practice experience.
                                                                                       To be continue. 

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