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Opinions on Further Strengthening Legal Services for Persons with Disabilities

Promulgation Date: 2023-12-15
Title: Opinions of the Ministry of Justice and China Disabled Persons' Federation on Further Strengthening Legal Services for Disabled Persons
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Expiration date: 
Promulgating Entities: Ministry of Justice, China Disabled Persons' Federation
Source of text: http://www.moj.gov.cn/pub/sfbgw/zwxxgk/fdzdgknr/fdzdgknrtzwj/202401/t20240108_493056.html

Opinions of the Ministry of Justice and China Disabled Persons' Federation on Further Strengthening Legal Services for Disabled Persons

To the justice departments (bureaus) and Disabled Persons' Federations of all provinces, autonomous regions, and directly-governed municipalities, and the Justice Bureau and Disabled Persons' Federation of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps:

The following Opinions on further strengthening legal services for persons with disabilities are hereby released as follows in order to truly implement the Party Center and State Council's decisions and allocations on efforts related to persons with disabilities and the State Council's "14th 5-year Plan for the Protection and Development of Persons with Disabilities", to effectively protect the lawful rights and interests of persons with disabilities, to promote the comprehensive development of the cause of persons with disabilities.

I. General Requirements

Persist in the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism for the New Era, fully implement the spirit of the 20th Party Congress, thoroughly study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law and General Secretary Xi Jinping's important speeches regarding persons with disabilities, persist in the weak having the support they need, strengthening resource integration, further strengthening the force of legal services for disabled persons, enriching the content and methods of legal services for persons with disabilities, including lawyers, notaries, forensic evaluations, and rule of law publicity, and continuously satisfy persons with disabilities' ever-growing needs for legal services and aiding them in sharing the good life.

By 2025, form a network of legal services for disabled persons that covers urban and rural areas, is convenient and exceptionally effective, notably increase the precision and efficacy of legal services for persons with disabilities and the quality of services, so that persons with disabilities' right to receive basic public legal services is better realized.

II. Main Measures

(1) Improve the network of public legal services for persons with disabilities. All levels of judicial administrative organ are to guide public legal services centers (stands, workrooms) in expanding to forums such as diabled persons' federations, disabled persons' service establishments, and special education schools; areas with the capacity are to establish public legal service stations at the municipal and county level disabled persons federations, and select lawyers and other legal staff to be stationed there to carry out work, or employ other flexible methods to provide legal services to persons with disabilities such as house-calls by appointment, online videoconferencing. All levels of judicial administrative organ and disabled persons federation are to promote connectivity and information sharing between the 12348 public legal services hotline and the 12385 service hotline for persons with disabilities. All levels of judicial administrative organ are to promote accessibility reforms and upgrades of the China Legal Sevices Network and each local legal service network.

(2) Lower the threshold for legal aid for people with disabilities. Implement the relevant provisions of the Legal Aid Law regarding notification to provide defense and waiving the verification of economic harsdhip, to protect the lawful rights and interests of persons with disabilities in accordance with law. The judicial administrative organs may expand the scope of civil and administrative legal aid for persons with disabilities through means such as promoting the drafting or revision of local regulations or government rules. Promptly and dynamically adjust the standards for economic hardship based on the economic and social development of an administrative region, and its need for legal aid work. Explore ways to exempt applicants with severe disabilities from the verification of economic hardship.

(3) Optimize legal aid work mechanisms for persons with disabilities. All levels of judicial administration organ and disabled persons federation are to establish and complete information sharing mechanisms for the recipients of legal aid for persons with disabilities, realizing data linkage and real time sharing between the basic disabled persons' database management system and the legal aid information management systems. All levels of judicial administrative organ should thoroughly carry out activities on "Legal Aid Benefiting People's Lives - Care for Persons With Disabilities" and legal aid establishments should provide accessible facilities and services based on the needs of persons with disabilities, assist persons with disabilities who have difficult writing in completing legal aid application materials, and provide at home services, or telephone or remote online services, for persons with disabilities who have trouble traveling.

(4) Increase the quality of legal aid service for persons with disabilities. Legal aid establishments should prioritize appointing legal aid staff who have experience in handling the cases of persons with disabilities to provide legal aid to persons with disabilities. All levels of judicial administrative organ are to guide disabled persons federations and social organizations to provide legal aid that conforms to standards in accordance with relevant laws and service specifications. All levels of judicial administrative organ should increase the team of legal aid volunteers, carry out legal aid volunteer service activities, organize legal aid volunteers to provide services for legal aid recipients with disabilities such as braille and sign language interpretation or psychological counseling; and all levels of disabled persons federation are to give the necessary support and assistance.

(5) Carry out Public Interest Legal Service Activities for Persons with Disabilities. All levels of judicial administrative organ and disabled persons federation should actively collaborate with relevant departments to organize lawyers, basic-level legal service workers, and village (neighborhood) legal consultants to thoroughly go out into villages, communities, and homes of persons with disabilities to provide "one-stop" free legal consultation services to persons with disabilities there in areas such as marriage and family law and social security. Support lawyers acting as 'third parties' to assist in addressing the petition demands of persons with disabilities, participating in the resolution of backlogged petition cases, repetitive petitioning, major issues in petitioning, and other such work, promptly providing legal opinions.

(6) Establish a professional committee on the protection of the rights and interests of persons with disabilities. All levels of judicial administrative organ are to guide lawyers associations in exploring the establishment of professional committees for the protection of the rights and interests of persons with disabilities, strengthening theoretical research and practical exploration, and carrying out professional knowledge and practice skills training, to raise the professional level of public interest legal services for persons with disabilities.

(7) Waive or reduce legal service fees related to persons with disabilities. In accordance with the "Guiding Opinions of the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Justice on Further Improving Price Formation Mechanisms for Notary Services", the rate for reducing notary service fees is not to be less than 50% where severely disabled persons handle affairs related to the items in the list of basic notary services related to people's livelihoods and each area is encouraged to introduce more price reduction or waiver policies for special groups such as persons with disabilities. The judicial administrative organs are to guide notary institutions and forensic evaluation institutions in providing public interest legal services to persons with disabilities, and notarization and evaluation fees are to be reduced or waived as provided in cases where persons with disabilities are the recipients of legal aid. Guide lawyers to reduce or waive attorney fees in legal services for persons with disabilities such as in drafting, agency, defense, and mediation.

(8) Strengthen the construction of an accessible environment. All levels of judicial administrative organ should implement the Law on the Establishment of a Barrier-free Environment, actively strengthening the establishment of accessible environments in public legal service centers (workstations, workrooms), increasing the coverage of accessible facilities, and providing barrier-free services for disabled people in accordance with relevant state standards. All levels of disabled persons' federation shall provide support for the construction of accessible environments in public legal service centers (workstations and workrooms). Arbitration institutions shall provide accessible services in accordance with law for persons with disabilities to participate in arbitration activities, and encourage law firms, notaries, forensic evaluation institutions, basic-level legal service offices, and other legal service institutions to open green channels for persons with disabilities, and to provide accessible services based on the content of the services provided.

(9) Give full play to the supplementary role of legal assistance for people with disabilities. Improve the system of legal assistance for persons with disabilities, accelerate the regulated construction of legal assistance workstations for persons with disabilities, and strengthen the effective linkage between legal assistance work for persons with disabilities and legal aid work.

(10) Implement the responsibility system of having “whoever enforces the law shall teach the law” for popular legal education. All levels of judicial administration organ and disabled persons federation are to persist in having "whoever manages teach the law" and "whoever provides services teach the law"; earnestly implementing the responsibility system of having “whoever enforces the law shall teach the law” for popular legal education, including laws and regulations on the protection of persons with disabilities' rights and interests in the annual list of popular legal education responsibility, strengthening legal education for workers with disabilities and legal services workers, and deeply integrating popular legal education into the entire course of legal services.

(11) Carry out legal publicity activities for people with disabilities. All levels of judicial administrative organ and disabled persons federation should carry out legal publicity activities on disability law on important holidays such as December 4th National Constitution Day, Consitution Publicity Week, Civil Code Publicity Month, National Day of Help for the Disabled, and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Actively carry out special actions for disabled people on obeying, studying, and using the law; carry out targeted legal publicity activities based on the characteristics of different types of disabled people; effectively increase the legal literacy of disabled people and their ability to protect their rights according to law; and strive to cultivate legal habits for thought and action where disabled people handle matters in accordance with law, seek the law when encountering problems, and solve problems using the law, and rely on the law to resolve conflicts.

III. Organizational Safeguards

(1) Strengthen organizational leadership. All levels of judicial administrative organ and disabled persons' federation should strengthen coordination and cooperation, establish institutionalized and standardized work linkage mechanisms, complete mechanisms for information sharing, communication, and coordination, and work together to ensure that various tasks are implemented effectively.

(2) Strengthen funding safeguards. All levels of judicial administrative organ and disabled persons' federation should actively seek support from finance departments at the same level, increase funding for public legal services for persons with disabilities, and strive to include more public legal services for persons with disabilities in the government's catalog of guidance for the procurement of services. Social forces are encouraged to participate in legal services efforts for persons with disabilities through making donations and other means.

(3) Strengthen team building. Judicial administrative organs are to support disabled persons federations in strengthening the establishment of a corps of government lawyers to give better play to the role of government lawyers in consultation and assistance. All levels of judicial administrative organ and disabled persons' federation should establish and complete mechanisms for evaluations, rewards, and punishments for lawyers, notaries, legal aid personnel, mediators, forensic evaluators, and other legal service personnel's participation in legal services for persons with disabilities; and promote the establishment of a compensation mechanism for public interest legal services; those with outstanding performance will be included in scope of awards selection. Exchanges and training should be carried out periodically, with each level of disabled persons federation promptly arranging for professionals to explain knowledge related to persons with disabilities, increasing the capacity for legal services for persons with disabilities and the level of professionalism. All levels of judicial administrative organ should employ multiple forms to strengthen the establishment of legal services teams for persons with disabilities in villages and townships.

(4) Emphasize the guidance of public opinion. All levels of judicial administrative organ and disabled persons federation should employ diverse forms to strive to promote the important allocations of the Party Center and State Council on the development of persons with disability and public legal services work, strenghening the sense of purpose and responsibility for legal service workers participating in legal service work for persons with disabilities. The experience or each area in legal services work for persons with disabilities should be promptly summarized, forcefully promoting advanced examples and moving deeds, creating a positive environment where society understands, cares about, and cares for persons with disabilities.

 

Ministry of Justice, China Disabled Persons' Federation

December 15, 2023

 

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