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Notice on Further Ensuring and Regulating Detention Centers' Efforts on Lawyer Meetings

Promulgation Date: 2019-10-18
Title: Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Justice Notice on Further Ensuring and Regulating Detention Centers' Efforts on Lawyer Meetings
Document Number:公监管〔2019〕372号
Expiration date: 
Promulgating Entities: Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Justice
Source of text:

To all provincial, autonomous region, or directly governed municipality public security offices (bureaus), Justice Departments (Bureaus) and the public security bureau and Justice Bureau for the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps:

In recent years, the nation's public security organs and judicial-administrative organs have truly strengthened cooperation, and in accordance with the "Provisions on Ensuring Lawyers Practice Rights in Accordance with Law" (SiFa(2015)No.14) by the Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of State Security, and Ministry of Justice, have continuously innovated coordination mechanisms, improved safeguard systems, and strengthened the establishment of facilities, to ensure lawyers' right to meet with criminal suspects or defendants who are detained in detention centers in strict accordance with the law; and have achieved notable success. However, following the implementation of new systems such as for full coverage of defense attorneys in criminal cases and legal aid duty lawyers, the number of lawyers meeting in detention centers has sharply increased, and there are sometimes long waits for detention center lawyer meetings, or even individual situations where lawyers meetings are covertly restricted, impacting lawyers' normal practice. At the same time, individual lawyers' violations of provisions on management of meetings, or even people pretending to be lawyers for meetings, has impacting security in the custodial facilities. To address this, the Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Justice, upon joint discussions and research, now give notice of the following requirements for efforts to further ensure and regulate lawyers' meetings in detention centers.

I. Lawfully arrange for prompt meetings, ensuring the normal practice of lawyers. When defense lawyers arrive at a detention center requesting to meet with detained criminal suspects or defendants, the detention center, after having inspected the lawyers' practice certificates, law firm certificates and letter of retention, or an official letter of legal aid, shall promptly arrange the meeting; arranging them on the spot where possible, and explaining the situation when it cannot be arranged on the spot; and ensuring that the lawyers meet with the detained criminal suspect or defendant within 48 hours. In arranging client meetings, detention centers must not impose additional conditions or covertly require that the defense lawyer must submit documents or materials beyond those which are required by law; and must not refuse to arrange a meeting for the defense lawyer on the basis that notification has not yet been received from the departments that is handling the case. Where detained criminal suspects or defendants raise terminating the retention relationship, and the defense lawyers verify that they are terminating the relationship in person, the detention center shall arrange a meeting; but where the criminal suspects or defendants refuse the meeting in writing, the detention center shall pass on the relevant written materials to the defense lawyer.

II. Strengthen the construction of system facilities, satisfying the demand from lawyers meetings. System construction should be strengthened, detention centers should establish platforms for booking lawyers meetings allowing online, Wechat, telephone, and other means to let lawyers book meetings, so long as the detained persons' information security can be ensured, but lawyers meetings must not be refused for failure to make an advance booking; and areas with the capacity may explore having video-meetings. Construction of meeting venues should be strengthened, newly built detention centers should follow the standard of four rooms per hundred detainees in constructing lawyer meeting rooms, and old detention centers should use methods such as adjusting in light of local conditions, exploiting untapped potential, to remodel or expand, and further increase the number of lawyer meeting rooms. In situations where the number of lawyer meeting rooms is inadequate, upon obtaining the lawyers written consent, lawyers meetings may be arranged in interrogation rooms, but the recording and listening equipment shall be turned off. Detention centers with a larger number of lawyers meetings may set up express meeting rooms, and the detention center should arrange express meetings where an application is for a meeting that is not to exceed 30 minutes. Service guarantees should be strengthened, with detention centers that have the capacity setting up lawyers waiting and rest areas, and allotting some necessary service facilities and office equipment, facilitating lawyers meetings to the extent possible. Lawyers may bring their personal computers to meetings, but shall comply with the relevant laws and regulations to ensure the security of the meetings. Where there is no way to satisfy lawyers' demands for meetings during regular work times, work times may be appropriately extended with the approval of the detention center chief, or lawyer meetings may be arranged on public holidays.

III. Strengthen information sharing and coordination and cooperation, to ensure the order and security of detention. . The Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Justice are to establish national lawyers information sharing mechanisms, sharing lawyers practice credentials, practice status, and other relevant information across the nation, and further regulating formats for letters of retention for defense, meeting introduction letters, criminal legal aid defense (representation) letters, and other documents. Lawyers shall comply with detention centers' provisions on security management, and it is strictly forbidden to bring prohibited items into meeting areas, it is strictly prohibited to bring persons to participate in the meeting other than legal assistants and interpreters who have been verified or approved by the case-handling organs, and it is strictly prohibited to provide criminal suspects or defendants with the use of communications tools or use them to transmit prohibited items or documents. Where it is discovered that lawyers have conduct in violation of rules during meetings, the detention center should immediately stop it and promptly report it to the judicial-administrative organs and lawyers association for the same level. Where lawyers find that their right to meet was violated, they may make a complaint to the the detention center and to the public security organs, judicial-administrative organs, lawyers association or procuratorates, and the public security organs shall disclose the name of the body accepting the complaint and the specific contact persons and contact methods. Judicial-administrative organs and lawyers associations should coordinate with relevant departments to lawfully correct law firms setting up practices near detention centers, sternly investigating and handling illegal practices, use of improper tactics to pull in business, and disruptions of the normal order of meetings.

Please promptly report to the Ministry of Public Security Bureau of Prison Management and the Ministry of Justice Bureau on Lawyers Work, regarding each region's implementation and problems encountered in these efforts.

Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Justice



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  1. China Law Translate China Law Translate Post author | 2020/03/09

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