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China Daily Website

Lawyers' rights guaranteed in China's judicial reform

Updated: 2012-10-09 11:27
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - China has tried to provide a legal guarantee for lawyers to practice in courts and reducing barriers in  evidence collection in recent years, according to a white paper on the nation's judicial reform released Tuesday.

The current law stipulates that the representation or defense opinions presented in court by a lawyer shall not be subject to legal prosecution so long as they do not compromise national security, maliciously defame others or seriously disrupt court order, according to the document released by the Information Office of the State Council.

These measures have effectively promoted the exercise of the defense function of lawyers, it said.

From 2006 to 2011, lawyers throughout the country provided defense for a total of 2,454,222 cases, an increase of 54.16 percent over the period 2001 to 2005.

According to the white paper, the Criminal Procedure Law amended in 2012 specifies that, except for few cases, a defense attorney who holds valid license or certificate for practicing law may meet a detained suspect or defendant without being monitored.

A defender may apply to the relevant people's procuratorate or people's court for evidence of the innocence of the defendant or the insignificance of the alleged crime collected by the public security organ or the people's procuratorate.

It also specifies that if a defender thinks the public security organ, the people's procuratorate, the people's court or their staff hinders lawyers from exercising litigation right, the lawyers have the right to make a petition/accusation to a people's procuratorate at the same level or at the next higher level.

As of the end of 2011, China had 18,200 law firms, hosting more than 210,000 lawyers, of whom full-time lawyers and part-time ones respectively accounted for 89.6 percent and 4.5 percent, while the rest were corporate lawyers, public defenders, legal-assistance lawyers and military lawyers, the white paper said.