Promulgation Date: 2018-12-27 Title: Supreme People's Court and Ministry of Justice Notice on Expanding the Scope of Pilot Projects on Having Defense Counsel in All Criminal Cases. Document Number: Expiration date: Promulgating Entities: Supreme People's Court, the Ministry of Justice Source of text: http://www.moj.gov.cn/government_public/content/2019-01/21/tzwj_227305.html
To the High People's Courts and justice offices (bureaus) of all provinces, autonomous regions, and directly-governed municipalities, the branch court for the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region Production and Construction Corps , and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps justice bureau:
Since October 2017, Eight Provinces (directly governed municipalities): Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Anhui, Henan, Guangdong, Sichuan, and Shaanxi, have actively explored implementation of pilot project work on having defense counsel in all criminal cases.in accordance with the "Supreme People's Court and Ministry of Justice Measures on Implementing Pilot Project Work on Having Defense Counsel in All Criminal Cases", to great effect. Each pilot site has innovated work models, assembled lawyer teams, strengthened financial assurances, increased work efficiency, and had other such useful exercises and mature practices, worthy of acceptance and promotion. However, in the course of the pilots, problems and challenges have been discovered such as that were insufficient lawyers in some areas, that financial assurances were lacking, that work-mechanisms were not adequately complete, and that case quality still needs to be raised; so further resolution and improvement is necessary. In order to promote the thorough implementation of pilot efforts to have defense counsel in all criminal cases and to ensure the pilot efforts have actual impact, upon study, a decision has been made to extend the pilot period and expand the pilot to 31 provinces (autonomous regions, directly governed municipalities) and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. Notice on relevant matters is hereby given as follows:
I. Fully Recognize the Important Significance of Expanding Pilot Project Work on Having Defense Counsel in All Criminal Cases
Expanding the scope of pilot efforts to have defense counsel in all criminal cases and further advancing and deepening efforts to have defense counsel in all criminal cases is an important mover for implementing comprehensive governance in accordance with law. The Party Central Committee places great importance on the work of comprehensive governance in accordance with law, and has assembled a Central Committee on Comprehensive Governance in Accordance With Law to strengthen uniform leadership of the construction of a China ruled by law. Safeguarding judicial power and promoting judicial fairness is the proper meaning of comprehensive governance in accordance with law, and the goal of carrying out pilots on having defense counsel in all criminal cases is to have each criminal case have legal defense and have legal assistance provided, to have lawyers preserve the lawful rights and interests of parties and promote judicial fairness by performing defense duties; manifesting the civility and improvement of the nation's social legal system. People's courts and judicial-administrative organs should further increase their sense of responsibility, earnestly expanding efforts to expand the pilots of having lawyers in all criminal cases, preserving the masses' lawful rights and interests to the greatest extent possible, and promoting social fairness and justice.
Expanding the scale and scope of pilot efforts to have defense counsel in all criminal cases and further advancing and deepening efforts to have defense counsel in all criminal cases is an specific measure to advance the criminal procedure system reform of trial-centered judgments. Increasing the rate of having defense counsel is an inherent requirement of the criminal procedure system reform of trial-centered judgments. Strengthening lawyers' defense rights is an important safeguard for bringing about the presentation of evidence in court, ascertaining the facts in court, expressing prosecution and defense opinions in court, and so forth. Lawers' full exercise of defense rights is conducive to the prosecution and defense effectively carrying out equal opposition with trial as the center, to promote further improvement of criminal procedure.
Expanding the scale and scope of pilot efforts to have defense counsel in all criminal cases and further advancing and deepening efforts to have defense counsel in all criminal cases is a practical measure to deepen reform of the lawyer system. Comprehensive governance in accordance with law presents new requirements for reforms to the lawyer system, requiring that the corps of lawyers have good professional character and practice ability, and requiring that lawyers' defense representation work can better satisfy the needs of the masses. Carrying out pilot efforts to have defense counsel in all criminal cases, providing all defendants in criminal cases with defense counsel and legal assistance, enriching the content of criminal defense lawyers' work, and elevating the status and role of lawyers in criminal proceedings, are practical steps for deepening reforms of the lawyer system.
II. The Main Tasks and Requirements for Expanding Pilot Projects on Having Defense Counsel in All Criminal Cases.
The first batch of 8 pilot provinces (directly governed municipalities) should increase proactivity and initiative in the work and increase the scope of the pilot to the entire jurisdiction on the foundation of experiences from the prior pilot period taken together with actual conditions in the region. Establishment of a cross-departmental big data case-handling platform should be explored to bring about connectivity of information systems between police, prosecutors, and courts, and legal aid institutions and departments for the administration of lawyers, using IT methods to accelerate the circulation of legal documents and to promptly deliver work information, and strive to increase efficiency. High standards and strict requirements should be upheld, work to explore paths for increasing the efficacy of efforts to have defense counsel in all criminal cases, ensuring that experiences and results can be used as models for the entire nation.
The other 23 provinces (autonomous regions, directly governed municipalities) and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps should accelerate all preparation work items, and formally begin pilot work in January, 2019. The "Supreme People's Court and Ministry of Justice Measures for Implementing Pilot Project Work on Having Defense Counsel in All Criminal Cases" should be earnestly implemented. Effective practices from provinces (directly governed municipalities) in the prior pilot should be drawn on, and a pilot work plan researched and drafted for the region. The scope of pilots should be determined on the basis of actual conditions, and pilots may be initially conducted in areas with sufficient lawyers and financial assurances, proceeding step by step in zones to gradually expand the scope of the pilots, and by the end of 2019, Tianjin, Jiangsu, Fujian, Shandong, and other such provinces (directly governed municipalities) are to have brought about essentially full coverage of the jurisdiction, and other provinces (autonomous region, directly governed municipalities) are to have essentialy full coverage in the capitol and one-half or more of the county-level administrative regions. There should be active experimentation, bold practice within the framework of the currently implemented lawyers system； conducting, summarizing, and spreading pilots together. Leading institutions and work mechanisms should be established and completed, strengthening coordination and cooperation between the people's courts and people's procuratorates, public security organs, judicial-administrative organs, legal aid institutions, and others, promptly and effectively resolving new situations and issues that arise in pilot project work.
During the pilots, each region should further implement case-handling organs' duty to inform; case-handling organs shall inform criminal suspects or defendants of their right to retain defenders, and should inform defendants that have not retained a defender that they enjoy the right to free legal aid and legal assistance; and where there is capacity an information sheet may be used, and where the information is given orally it should be noted in the record and the criminal suspects or defendants shall sign it; where there was a duty to inform that was not performed, oversight shall be strengthened, with strict accountability, so that the obligation to inform is truly carried out. Connections and cooperation should be emphasized; the people's courts should focus on understanding whether defendants or their families have retained a defender as well as whether they agree to the appointment of a lawyer, and promptly decide whether to notify the legal aid institutions to appoint a lawyer; within three days of receiving notification, the legal aid institutions shall appoint a lawyer, and where the defendant clearly refuses, this should be noted in writing; and where the people's courts discover that defendants or their families have already separately retained a defender, they shall immediately tell the legal aid institution to avoid wasting resources.
III. Strengthen Leadership of Expanding Pilot Project Work on Having Defense Counsel in All Criminal Cases.
Expansion of the pilot work of having defense counsel in all criminal cases should get the attention and support of all levels of Party Committee and government and uphold the leadership of the Party Committee and government; people's courts and judicial-administrative organs are responsible for organizing implementation and striving to bring about the close cooperation of all relevant units, expand work mechanisms for lawyers active participation, and ensure that pilot work is carried out in an orderly way across the nation.
There should be overall planning for lawyer resources putting financial assurances in place. 各地要针对刑事辩护律师需求大量增加的情况，原则上以地市州为单位，统筹调配律师资源，解决律师资源分布不均、部分地区律师资源不足的问题。 要积极联系协调财政部门出台有关政策措施，增加法律援助经费，逐步提高律师办案补贴标准，同时要探索建立办案补贴动态调整机制，根据律师办理案件难易程度、服务质量等发放办案补贴，体现差异性，提高律师工作积极性。
Investigative research and statistics on the pilot work should be strengthened, promptly summarizing experience and spreading models. Thorough and widespread research should be done, researching and drafting truly functional measures to resolve new situations and issues encountered in pilot work. 各地司法行政机关要高度重视律师代理辩护案件质量，严格案件质量评估标准，建立刑事案件律师辩护跟踪制度，综合运用旁听庭审、回访受援人等方式，全面掌握律师办理案件质量情况，不断提高试点工作的质量和效果。
要加强对扩大刑事案件律师辩护全覆盖试点工作的宣传，灵活采取多种形式，充分运用传统媒体和网络、微信、微博等新媒体，宣传做好这项工作的重要意义。 Advanced models, experiences and practices from all regions should be promoted in news media such as the Legal Daily and People's Court Daily at appropriate time, to expand their impact and create a positive social environment and public opinion atmosphere for effort to have defense counsel in all criminal cases.
Attachments:“Supreme People's Court and Ministry of Justice Measures for Implementing Pilot Project Work on Having Defense Counsel in All Criminal Cases“Justice Bulletin (2017) ”
Supreme People's Court, the Ministry of Justice
December 27, 2018