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The Law on Lawyers in China, part 2: foreign lawyer and law firms

Time:2014-03-13 Hit:1913

The Law on Lawyers in China, part 2: foreign lawyer and law firms  in China
  The chines government began allowing foreign law firms to set up their office in China in early 1990s under the provisional regulations concerning foreign law firms establishing offices within China, but subject to approval, license granting and registration procedures. On 20 October 1992, the first group of twelve foreign law firms was granted approval to establish representative office in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
  After China’s accession to WTO, 19 cities were opened to foreign law firms; with each law firm being allowed have one representative office in these cities. By the end of 2006, there were 149 foreign law representative offices from 17 countries and 54 law firms branched from Hong Kong and Macao operating in China.
  The establishment and activities of foreign law firms are governed by the following laws and rules:
  1, regulations on the administration of representative office in China of Foreign Law Firms, issued by the State Council
  2, provisions of the ministry of justice on implementation of the regulations on the administration of representative offices in China for Foreign Law Firms.

Foreign lawyers in China
Foreign lawyers are not permitted to practice Chinese law, or to perform the functions of a Chinese lawyer. Accordingly, they may not give formal opinions regarding the interpretation of Chinese Law, or appear in a People’s Court on behalf of clients. However, foreign lawyers are permitted to appear in arbitration proceedings conducted by the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission and the China International Maritime Arbitration Commission. 
  Foreign law firms are permitted to engage in the following activities:
1, advising clients on the law of countries in which the law firm’s lawyer are permitted to practice;
2, advising the clients regarding international conventions, as well as international commercial law and practices;
3, handling legal matters on behalf of Chinese Law Firms or other clients in countries in which the law firm’s lawyer are permitted to practice;
4, entrusting Chinese Law Firms to handle legal matters in China on behalf of foreign clients;
5, contracting with Chinese law firms to maintain a long term entrustment relationship in handing legal matters;
6, providing information concerning the impact of the Chinese legal environment

Representative offices of foreign law firms are not permitted to employ Chinese practicing lawyers, but may employ Chinese lawyer as supporting staffs. Chinese supporting staffs in a representative office of a foreign law firm may not provide legal service to clients
  Foreign lawyers are required to renew their registration every year and may not work for more than one law firm at the same time. They must stay in China at least six months in a year, or their registration renewal will be refused.
  In spite of many restrictions on legal practice of foreign lawyers, foreign lawyers now operate in almost every field of law, form securities, banking and insurance to project finance, commercial arbitration, property, tax, maritime law, direct investment, intellectual property as well as general corporate consulting. ( China master business law guide a wolters Kluwer business)

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