The All China Lawyers Association's "Notice of the release and publication of the 'Amendment to the Lawyers' Practice Code of Conduct'"
Lawyer Release Notice (2017) 12
All provincial, autonomous region, or directly governed municipality lawyers associations, and the lawyers association of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps:
The "Amendment to the Lawyers' Practice Code of Conduct" has already been deliberated and passed by the ninth Executive Council of the All China Lawyers Association, and is hereby released to you for your implementation.
Amendment to the Lawyers' Practice Code of Conduct
(Deliberated and Passed on January 8, 2017 at the ninth Executive Council of the All China Lawyers Association)
1. Add one article after article 2 of the Lawyers' Practice Code of Conduct to be article 3: "Lawyers shall have supporting the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, and supporting the socialist rule of law as basic requirements for practice."
2. Add one paragraph to article 6 of the Lawyers' Practice Code of Conduct to be article the second paragraph: " lawyers shall not use their identity as lawyers or the name of their law firms to hype individual cases, attack the Socialist system, or engage in activities that endanger national security; and must use their identify as lawyers to incite, instigate, or organize the relevant interest groups, disrupt order and undermine normal social order; and must not use their identity as lawyers to instigate or direct parties to collude or fabricate evidence, interfering with normal judicial activities".
Lawyers ' Practice Code of Conduct（Provisional）
(Deliberated and provisionally passed by the fifth Executive Council of the All China Lawyers Association on March 20, 2004; revised by the Second session of the seventh Executive Council on December 27, 2009, and revised again by the second session of the ) ninth Executive Council on January 8, 2017)
Article 1: These norms are drafted on the basis of the "PRC Law on Lawyers" and "The Charter of the All China Lawyers Association" for the purpose of standardizing lawyers' professional conduct and safeguarding the rights and interest of the legal profession.
Article 2: The guidance of this lawyer's code of conduct is a professional standard for judging lawyers' professional conduct and is a self-binding conduct norm by lawyers.
Article 3: Lawyers shall have supporting the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, and supporting the socialist rule of law as basic requirements for practice.
Article 4: Where lawyers' professional conduct violates compulsory regulations of these norms, a punishment or admonishment shall be given in accordance with relevant normative documents. Lawyers shall exercise self-discipline in abiding by the discretionary regulations in these norms.
Article 5: These norms are applicable to the All China Lawyer's Association's lawyer and law firm membership, they are implemented by reference to law firm's other employees.
Article 6: Lawyers should be loyal to the Constitution and laws, and abide by the professional ethics of and practice discipline of lawyers.
Lawyers shall not use their identity as lawyers or the name of their law firms to hype individual cases, attack the Socialist system, or engage in activities that endanger national security; and must use their identify as lawyers to incite, instigate, or organize the relevant interest groups, disrupt order and undermine normal social order; and must not use their identity as lawyers to instigate or direct parties to collude or fabricate evidence, interfering with normal judicial activities.
Article 7: Lawyers shall be honest, show due diligence, follow the facts and law, protect the lawful rights and interests of clients, protect the correct implementation of the law, and protect social fairness and justice.
Article 8: Lawyers shall emphasize professional training, consciously preserving the reputation of the legal profession.
Article 9: Lawyers shall protect and guard state secrets and commercial secrets that they learn of through practice activities, and must not reveal parties' personal information.
Lawyers shall keep confidential clients' and other persons' circumstances and information learned during representation, which they do not wish revealed. However, there is an exception for facts and information regarding a client or other person's preparation or current engagement in crimes that endanger state security or public security, or seriously endanger the personal safety of others or their property.
Article 10: Lawyers shall respect peers, fair competition, and mutual support in the profession.
Article 11: Lawyers associations advocate lawyers' attention, support, and active participation in social public interest matters.
Article 12: While in practice, lawyers must not engage in legal activities as non-lawyers.
Lawyers may only practice in one law firm.
Lawyers must not continue practice in the period for which they have received a penalty of stopping practice or during the period in which a law firm has been suspended for rectification or continue practicing under the original name being cancelled.
Article 13: Lawyers must not undertake representation of clients on both sides of the same case and must not undertake legal services where they or their close relatives have a conflict of interests.
Article 14: Lawyers serving as a member of the standing committee of a people's congress at any level must not take on a prosecution or defense matter during their period of service.
Article 15: Lawyers must not exhibit the following conduct:
(1) conduct creating a negative social impact or harming the reputation of the legal profession;
(2) conduct obstructing state judicial or administrative organs in the lawful performance of their duties;
(3) participating in prohibited institutions, organizations or community groups;
(4) other violations of laws,regulations, the lawyers association code of conduct or professional ethics;
(5) other violations of public morality, causing serious damage to the image of the legal profession.
Article 16: In promoting their practice, lawyers and law firms shall abide by the principles of equality and good faith, shall abide by lawyers' professional ethics and discipline, and shall abide by recognized industry standards and fair competition.
Article 17: Lawyers and law firms shall launch and promote their practice through paths raising their own character, raising the quality of legal services and strengthening the competitiveness of their practice.
Article 18: Lawyers and law firms may use advertisements to lawfully promote the firm or lawyers and their practice areas or strengths.
Article 19: Lawyers and law firms publicize their areas of expertise through activities such as publishing papers, case studies or topic notes; giving lectures or offering popular outreach legal education.
Article 20: Lawyers and law firms may publicize their professional strengths through organizing or attending all forms of symposia or discourse.
Article 21: Lawyers may participate in all types of public interest activities either in their own name or that of their law firm.
Article 22: Lawyers and law firms must not engage in acts of unfair competition while promoting their business.
Article 23: Lawyers and law firms may publish information and advertisements letting the social public understand the legal services provided by the firm and its lawyers, to promote business.
Article 24: Lawyers publishing advertisements shall comply with national laws, regulations, rules, and this specification.
Article 25: Lawyers publishing advertisements shall be identifiable, the social public shall be sufficiently able to recognize that it is a lawyers advertisement.
Article 26: Lawyers advertisements may be published in the lawyer's own name or may also be published in the name of a law firm. Lawyers ads published in the name of an individual lawyer shall clearly note the name of the lawyer's practice organization , and shall clearly indicate the lawyers license number.
Article 27: Lawyers and law firms in any of the following situations, must not release a lawyers' advertisement.
(1) did not pass the annual review;
(2) during the period of punishment where practice has been stopped or suspended for rectification;
(3) it has been less than a year since receiving a criticism notice or public censure.
Article 28: The content of lawyers advertisements shall be limited to the lawyers name, image, age, gender, education, degrees, specialization, the date on which they became permitted to practice law, the name of the law firm where they practice, the period of their time as a lawyer in the firm, their fee standards, contact information, the scope of legal services they may provide, and practice achievements.
Article 29: The content of law firm's advertisements shall be limited to the name of the law firm, their location, telephone number, fax number, mailing address, email and website; the lawyers association it belongs too, the lawyers practicing withing the firm, a brief introduction to the legal services they can provide to the public and practice accomplishments.
Article 30: Lawyers and law firms must not advertise in a style contrary to mission of lawyers or harmful to lawyers' image, and in creating advertisements must not adopt the artful exaggeration techniques used in ordinary commercial advertisements.
Article 31: Content violating the lawyers association's provisions related to advertisement management must not appear in lawyers advertisements.
Article 32: Lawyers and law firms must not conduct publicity that distorts the truth or law, or might cause the public to have unreasonable expectations of lawyers.
Article 33: Lawyers and law firms may publicize certain areas in which they offer specialized legal services, but must not proclaim themselves or hint that they are commonly regarded or proven to be authorities or experts in that area.
Article 34: Lawyers and law firms must not conduct publicity comparing lawyers or law firms.
Article 35: Lawyers shall discuss the scope, content, limitations, fees and duration of the representation with their clients, and after a common understanding has been achieved through discussion, the law firm and the client sign a representation agreement.
Article 36: Lawyers shall fully utilize their professional knowledge to follow the law and representation agreement in completing the representation and protecting the client or party's lawful rights and interests.
Article 37: Lawyers and their law firms have the right to select a plan for the realization of the client's goals, on the basis of legal provisions and justice as well as the lawyers' professional ethical standards.
Article 38: Lawyers shall strictly follow the legally provided times and effective periods, as well as times in the representations agreement, in handling the matter for which they were retained. A client's requests to learn of the circumstances of handling the case shall be promptly responded to.
Article 39: Lawyers shall establish practice archives, storing complete work records.
Article 40: Lawyers shall cautiously protect original documents, original items or recording masters provided by clients or parties , as well as other materials.
Article 41: After accepting a client, a lawyer shall develop a business plan that is within the confines of the authority entrusted to him/her by the client; the lawyer must not act outside the authority entrusted to him/her.
Article 42: After accepting a client, a lawyer must not refuse to defend or represent the client absent a proper reason, or otherwise terminate the client relationship. Where the matters for representation are illegal or the client is exploiting the services provided by the lawyer to engage in illegal activities, or the client intentionally conceals important facts related to the case, the lawyer has the right to inform the client and request correction, has the right to refuse the defense or representation or terminate the representation in another manner, and has the right to receive payment for legal services already performed.
Article 43: Where, during the course of representation, insurmountable difficulties or risks appear or could appear, lawyers shall promptly inform the client and report to their law firm.
Article 43: On the basis of the client's facts and evidence, lawyers conduct analysis based on the law and provide their clients with analytic opinions.
Article 45: Lawyers' defense and representation opinions that have not been accepted are not false promises.
Article 46: Lawyers and law firms must not use the convenience of providing legal services to seek parties' disputed rights or interests.
Article 47: Lawyers and law firms must not illegally generate economic ties with their client's regarding their disputed rights and interests, must not arrange for the client to sell the subject of the dispute to them, and must not entrust others to buy or lease subjects of the client's dispute with another person on behalf of themselves or their relatives.
Article 48: Law firms may lawfully enter into agreements with a parties or clients in which a predetermined percentage of recovered money or items are used as attorney fees.
Article 49: Law firms shall establish a system that reviews for conflicts of interest. Before accepting a representation, law firms shall conduct a conflict of interests review and make a decision whether it is able to accept the representation.
Article 50: When a lawyers handling a matter have an interest in, or a conflict of interest with, the client, they must not undertake that matter and shall voluntarily offer to withdraw.
Article 51: In any of the following situations, lawyers and law firms must not establish or continue a client relationship with a party:
(1) in legal practice where a law firm's lawyers serve as representatives to parties on both sides of a case, or lawyers or their families have a conflict of interests;
(2) where a lawyer handling litigation or non-litigation matters, or their close relatives, are the legal representative or agent of the opposing party;
(3) where an employee of an administrative organ, an adjudicator, a procurator or an arbiter, who previously handled or tried a certain matter or cases, handles that matter or case again after becoming a lawyer;
(4) where different lawyers in the same law firm simultaneously serve as the victim's representative and the criminal suspect or defendant's defender in the same criminal case; except for where there is only one law firm in the county district and the parties' consent is obtained beforehand;
(5) where, in a civil lawsuit, an administrative lawsuit, or in an arbitration, different lawyers from the same law firm simultaneously serve as representatives to the parties on both sides of the dispute; or where a law firm or its employee is a party to the suit and another lawyer in the firm serves as the representative of the opposing party;
(6) where, in non-litigation matters, lawyers from the same law firm simultaneously serve as representatives to each of the mutually interested parties except for where the parties have jointly retained the law firm;
(7) where, after the client relationship has terminated, the same law firm or the same lawyer is retained by the opposing party in the case for follow-up hearings or other matters in the same case;
(8) Other situations similar to those found in subsections 1 through 7 of this Article, and situations where based on lawyers' professional experience and common industry practices, they are able to determine that they should proactively withdraw and must not handle the situation due to a conflict of interest.
Article 52: In any of the following situations, lawyers shall notify their clients and proactively withdraw unless the clients agree to their representation or continued handling of the matter:
(1) Accepting retention by one party in civil litigation or arbitration while another lawyer from the same firm is the close relative of the opposing party in that case;
(2) Serving as the criminal suspect or defendant's defender in a criminal case while another lawyer from the same firm is the close relative of the victim in that case;
(3) The same law firm accepts retention in another matter from the opposing party in a litigation or non-litigation matter they are currently representing someone in;
(4) Where a legal services relationship exists between a law firm and a client, but that client does not request that the lawyers of that firm represent them in a certain lawsuit or arbitration, but the firm's lawyers serve as the representatives of the client's opposing party;
(5) Within one year of terminating representation, lawyers accept retention by an opposing party with interests in the original client;
(6) Other situations similar to those found in subsections 1 through 5 of this Article, and situations as determined based on the lawyers' professional experience and common industry practices.
Where lawyers and law firms discover the situations described above, they shall notify the client of the facts and possible consequences of the conflict of interests, and the client is to decide whether to establish or continue the retention. Where clients decide to establish or continue retention, they shall sign an informed consent document showing that the party has already become aware of the basic facts and possible legal consequences of the conflict of interest, and that the party expressly consents to establishing or continuing the retention of the law firm and lawyers.
Article 53: Where clients understand the circumstances and sign a knowing consent document, the lawyer undertaking the case should preserve the confidentiality of all parties' case information as they handle the case, and must not disclose information related to the case to the other counterpart lawyers.
Article 54: Law firms may sign written custodial storage agreements, to appropriately store clients' assets, and strictly perform on that custodial storage agreement.
Article 55: When law firms are entrusted with custodial storage of clients' assets, they shall strictly separate the clients' assets from the assets of the law firm and lawyers' individual assets.
Article 56: Without the consent of the client, law firms must not transfer the subject of the client's representation to another law firm. However, in an emergency situation, to protect the client's interests, the representation may be transferred, but the client shall be promptly informed.
Article 57: Where lawyers are unable to perform representation agreements due to emergency situations such as sudden contraction of an illness or work reallocation, they shall promptly report this to the law firm, and the law firm is to appoint new lawyers to continue and promptly inform the client.
Article 58: Without the consent of the client, the client's representation costs must not be increased due to a transfer of the representation.
Article 59: In any of the following situations, law firms shall terminate the representation:
(1) The client submits a representation termination agreement;
(2) The lawyers are given punishments canceling their practice licences or suspending their practice, and upon consultation the client does not consent to change lawyers;
(3) When a conflict of interest as provided for in article 50 of these norms is discovered;
(4) Due to a health situation, the retained lawyer is not fit to continue performance of the representation agreement, and upon consultation, the client does not consent to change lawyers;
(5) Continued performance of the representation agreement would violate laws, regulations, rules, or these Norms.
Article 60: In any of the following situations, where the client does not make corrections upon being warned, a law firm may be released from a representation agreement:
(1) The client is using legal services provided by lawyers to engage in illegal activities;
(2) The client requests that lawyers complete objectives that cannot be realized or are unreasonable;
(3) The clients have not performed obligations in the representation contract;
(4) Where lawyers provide clients with legal services that cause lawyers to bear unreasonable costs, or give lawyers difficulties that are hard to endure or unreasonable, in a way that could not have been foreseen;
(5) Other lawful reasons.
Article 61: Where law firms terminate representation or are released from a representation agreement in accordance with articles 58 and 59 of these Norms, and the client and law negotiate the release of the agreement, or where the client unilaterally terminates the representation agreement, the law firm has the right to collect fees for the portion of services already provided.
Article 62: After law firms and clients release a representation agreement, any original documents, items, or audiovisual material masters that were provided shall be returned, but photocopies may be retained and archived.
Article 63: Lawyers shall investigate and collect evidence in accordance with law.
Article 64: Counsel must not submit evidence that is clearly known to be false to a judicial or arbitral institution.
Article 65: Where lawyers appear as a witness to testify in court, they must not accept a commission to appear in court as a defender or agent ad litem in that case.
Article 66: Lawyers shall obey discipline in the courtroom or arbitration tribunal, comply with times for appearing at court, limits on time for presenting evidence and submitting legal documents, and other procedural provisions.
Article 67: During the course of trial at court, lawyers shall respect the court or arbitration tribunal.
Article 68: Where in the course of practice, lawyers have contact with the people undertaking the case to exchange ideas, because the lawyers' opinions differ from those of the other side on issues such as the truth of case facts, validity of evidence, or the correct application of law, or for the purpose of submitting new evidence to the person undertaking the case, the contact shall occur in a forum inside the judicial organ.
Article 69: In the course of handling a case, lawyers must not undertake have private contact with judicial or arbitration personnel undertaking the case.
Article 70: Lawyers must not bribe personnel of judicial organs and arbitration establishments, must not use methods such as promising kickbacks or other benefits (including material benefits and non-material benefits) to carry out a trade with judicial or arbitration personnel.
Lawyers must not make introductions for bribery, or instigate or induce parties to give bribes.
Article 71: Lawyers serving as defense counsel or legal representative in a trial or arbitration proceeding shall appear in court dressed in regulation court-appearance costume, wear the regulation court-appearance emblem, and pay attention to lawyers' professional image.
Article 72: Lawyers speaking at court or in an arbitration tribunal shall deport themselves with dignity and class, and use language that is civilized and appropriate.
Article 73: Lawyers shall mutually assist and mutually respect each other.
Article 74: During court or in negotiations, the lawyers shall respect each other and not use sarcastic, ironic or humiliating language.
Article 75: Lawyers or law firms must not publish speech in public or on media that is malicious, derogatory, slanderous, or harmful to the reputations of peers.
Article 76: When lawyers change their practice institution, they shall protect the interests of clients and their former law firm; when law firms accept transferring lawyers into the firm, they must not harm the interests of their prior law firm.
Article 77: Where disputes occur between lawyers and clients, the law firms' resolution plans shall fully respect the opinion of the lawyers themselves, and the lawyers shall accept the law firms' decisions on resolving the disputes.
Article 78: Lawyers and law firms must not employ unfair competition tactics in carrying out professional competition, harming other lawyers or law firms' reputations or other lawful rights and interests.
Article 79: Any of the following situations is unfair competitive conduct in lawyers' practice:
(1) slandering or defaming other lawyers or law firms' reputation or good will;
(2) Without legitimate cause, bringing in business by charging fees below the local industry standards, or by means such as promising kickbacks, remuneration, assets, or other benefits to clients, intermediaries, or referrers;
(3) Intentionally creating discord between a client and their lawyer;
(4) Stating or implying to clients that one, or one's law firm, has a special relationship with judicial organs, government organs, social groups or their staffs;
(5) Making false promises about the outcomes of legal services or litigation;
(6) Stating or implying that they can help clients achieve an improper objective, or achieve the clients' objectives through improper methods or tactics.
Article 80: Lawyers and law firms must not use the following improper tactics for professional competition with peers during their contacts with administrative organs administrative management departments and enterprises.
(1) Competing by creating a monopoly on a certain type of legal services through a certain organ, department, or industry;
(2) Restricting clients' acceptance of legal services to those provided by lawyers or law firms they designate, limiting the fair professional competition of other lawyers and law firms.
Article 81: Lawyers and law firms interacting with judicial organs and judicial personnel must not carry out professional competition by employing tactics of having lawyers exploit other positions or roles they have, so as to influence the normal handling of the matters they undertake.
Article 82: Lawyers and law firms engaged in specific scope of legal services in accordance with relevant provisions, must not employ the following acts of unfair competition:
(1) Limiting clients' acceptance of legal services provided by other lawyers or law firms that have been recognized by the legally prescribed bodies;
(2) Compelling clients to accept legal services they provide or that are provided by lawyers they designate;
(3) Refusing, interrupting, putting of, or reducing necessary legal services for, or overcharging, clients who boycott the conduct above;
Article 83: Lawyers or law firms must not employ the following means between them to eliminate fair competition from competitors:
(1) colluding to raise or keep down fees;
(3) Leaking price quotes, other conditions for the provision of legal services, or other information that has not yet been disclosed, harming the lawful rights and interests of other law firms.
Article 84: Lawyers and law firms must not confuse and mislead clients by using names, logos, text graphics, or marks that are publicly distinguished or better known, without authorization or illegally.
"Publicly distinguished or better known names" as used in these Norms, refers to:
(1) Names related to political parties, judicial organs, administrative organs, or industry associations;
(2) Names of top law schools and universities or research establishments that have a higher degree of name recognition;
(3) The names of public figures other than lawyers who are commonly known to the public and have a higher degree of name recognition;
(4) the names of well known lawyers or law firms.
Article 85: Lawyers and law firms must not fabricate or falsely use honorary titles for legal services. Use of honorary titles for lawyers or law firms that have already been received, shall not the time it was received and the period of validity. Lawyers and law firms must not alter honorary titles for use in advertisements or publicity. Where a law firm has been revoked, the honorifics it previously obtained must not continue in use.
Article 86: Law firms are the practice institution for lawyers. Law firms have the duty to educate, manage, and supervise lawyers practicing in the firm.
Article 87: Law firms shall establish and complete systems such as for practice management, conflict of interest reviews, fee collection and asset management, review and handling of complaints, annual evaluations, archive management, and labor contract management; and conduct supervision of lawyers compliance with professional ethics and practice discipline in practice.
Article 88: Law firms shall safeguard the lawful rights and interests or lawyers and other staff in accordance with law, and provide necessary working conditions for lawyers' practice.
Article 89: Where lawyers take on business, law firms uniformly accept the representation and sign a retention contract with the client, and uniformly accept fees in accordance with national provisions.
Article 90: Lawyers and law firms must pay taxes according to law.
Article 91: Law firms shall regularly organize lawyers to carry out contemporary politics and practice classes, summarizing and communicating practice experience, to raise the level of lawyers' practice.
Article 92: Law firms shall earnestly guide applicant legal practice interns' internships, and truthfully issue internship evaluation materials and relevant supporting materials.
Article 93: Law firms must not engage in business activities other than legal services.
Article 94: Lawyers and law firms shall follow national provisions to perform legal aid obligations, provide legal services and protecting the lawful rights and interests of those receiving legal aid,
Article 95: Law firms must not appoint personnel who have not obtained Lawyers' practice certificates or lawyers who are in a period of practice suspension, to provide legal services as a lawyer.
Article 96: Law firms shall employ measures to stop or remedy mistakes by lawyers support personnel that they have appointed to handle matters, and shall bear responsibility.
Article 97: Law firms have an obligation to conduct management of lawyers and applicant legal practice interns in terms of areas such as business and professional ethics.
Article 98: Lawyers and lawfirms shall obey legal practice norms and rules made by lawyers associations. Lawyers and law firms enjoy the rights provided in the charter of the lawyers associations, and bear the obligations provided for in the charters of lawyers associations.
Article 99: Lawyers shall participate in and complete legal practice business classes and evaluations organized by the lawyers associations.
Article 100: Where lawyers participate in international lawyers organizations and become their members, as well as participate in meetings or other activities as a Chinese lawyers outside of the mainland, shall report this for filing to the lawyers association.
Article 101: Where lawyers and law firms become criminal or civil defendants as a result of practice activities, or are subject to investigation and punishment by an administrative organ, it shall be reported to the lawyers association in writing.
Article 102: Lawyers shall actively participate in legal practice research activities organized by lawyers associations, complete research tasks arranged by lawyers associations, and participate in public interest activities organized by the lawyers associations.
Article 103: Lawyers shall appropriately handle disputes occurring in legal practice, and perform on mediation agreements reached through mediation by the lawyers associations.
Article 104: Lawyers shall implement Lawyers Associations' decisions on the disposition of legal practice disputes.
Lawyers shall perform on disciplinary decisions made the lawyers associations in accordance with laws, regulations, rules and the lawyers associations' charter and rules.
Article 105: Lawyers shall pay their dues on time.
Article 106: When lawyers and law firms violate this "code", the lawyers associations shall enforce sanctions according to the "Lawyers Associations Provisions on Punishment of Members' Violations" and other related professional normative documents.
Article 107: Local lawyers associations may draft detailed implementation regulations on the basis of these Norms taken together with local conditions. Those implementation regulations must not conflict with these Norms, and are to be implemented after being reported for filing to the All China Lawyers Association.
Article 108: These Norms come into force on the date of promulgation. These Norms are to be modified through amendment, and amendments are to be implemented after being passed by the Executive Council, and take formal effect after passage by the Council.
Article 109: These Norms are interpreted by the Executive Board of the All China Lawyers Association.