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Opinions on Carrying out Legal Aid Duty Lawyer Efforts

Title: Opinions on Carrying out Legal Aid Duty Lawyer Efforts
Promulgating Entities: Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security et al.
Reference number: 
Promulgation Date: 2017-8-28
Expiration date: 
Source of text:

The following Opinions are hereby issued so as to put in place the CPC Central Committee General Office and General Office of the State Council's 'Opinions on Improving the Legal Aid system; (Zhongbanfa[2015]No.37), to give full play to the functional role of legal aid duty lawyers in the trial-centered judgment criminal procedure system reform and the pilot reform of leniency for those who confess and accept punishment, to lawfully preserve the procedural rights of criminal suspects and defendants, to strengthen judicial safeguards for human rights, promote judicial fairness.

1. Legal aid institutions are to station duty lawyers in people's courts and detention centers, to provide legal assistance to criminal suspects and defendants who do not have a defender.

The people courts, people's procuratorates and public security organs shall inform criminal suspects or defendants that they have the right to receive legal assistance from a duty lawyer. Where criminal suspects, defendants, and their relatives request legal assistance, the people courts, people's procuratorates and public security organ shall notify the duty lawyer to provide them with legal assistance.

2. Legal Aid Duty Lawyers Shall Lawfully Perform the Following Duties:

(1) Advice and Legal Consultation.

(2) Guide and assist criminal suspects, defendants, and their close relatives in applying for legal aid and transferring application materials.

(3) In pilot sites for the leniency for those who confess and accept punishment reform, provide legal assistance to criminal suspects and defendants, such as legal consultation,procedural selection, and application for modification of compulsory measures; submit comments on the procuratorates conviction and sentencing recommendations, and where criminal suspects sign affidavits admitting guilt and accepting punishment, a duty lawyer shall be present.

(4) Represent in collateral appeals and accusations regarding extortion of confessions by torture, and circumstances of illegal evidence gathering.

(5) Take on other tasks assigned by the legal aid institution.

Legal aid duty lawyers do not provide services of appearing at court to defend. Criminal suspects and defendants meeting the requirements for legal aid may have the legal aid institution appoint them with a lawyer to provide defense upon application or information.

3. On the basis of the actual needs of people's courts, people's procuratorates, and detention centers, the legal aid institutions may provide legal assistance in forms such as establishing legal aid work stations, with duty lawyers or promptly arranging for duty lawyers.

Work stations shall put up a uniform sign, allot necessary office equipment, set up direction indications, and put out form legal aid documents and materials introducing relevant operations.

Work stations shall announce the scope of legal aid, conditions, duties of duty lawyers, as well as basic information on that day's duty lawyers.

4. Legal aid institutions designate candidates to be legal aid duty lawyers by considering together the communities' lawyers and the legal aid institutions' lawyers' political quality, their level of professional ethics, their professional capacity, and limits on years of practice, and establish a register of legal aid duty lawyers. Areas with capacity may organize legal aid duty lawyer pools.

5. Legal aid institutions are to reasonably arrange duty lawyers' work times, based on the amount of need for legal consultation at people's courts' and detention centers' legal aid work stations and on the state of lawyer resources. Lawyers on duty may be comparatively fixed professionals or on rotation shifts; regions with a shortage of lawyers may explore employing combinations of methods such as onsite, telephone, and online duty.

6. Legal aid institutions shall transfer duty lawyer registries or staff information to the people's courts, people's procuratorates, public security organs and detention centers, or inform them of this information. Legal aid duty lawyers providing duty lawyer services at legal aid work stations in people's courts or detention centers should carry their lawyers' practice certificates and hang a sign out for their post, and express their identity as legal aid duty lawyers to parties.

When duty lawyers receive parties, they shall record the party's legal question on site, provide legal explanations, explain the conditions and scope of legal aid, and guide parties who preliminary seem to meet the conditions for legal aid to apply for legal aid.

Community lawyers and legal aid institution lawyers shall accept the legal aid institutions' arrangements for the provisions of duty lawyer services. Duty lawyers shall respect the relevant provisions of laws, professional ethics, and practice discipline; and must not mislead parties' litigation conduct; are prohibited from conduct such as accepting assets, using their duty to facilitate the solicitation of cases or referring lawyers for compensated services, or otherwise violating lawyers discipline. Duty lawyers shall lawfully protect state secrets, commercial secrets, and parties' private information that they learn of through their work, except for facts and information regarding criminal suspects, defendants, or other persons' preparation or current engagement in crimes that endanger national security or public safety, or seriously endanger the personal safety of others.

7. Legal aid institutions should strengthen operational guidance of legal aid duty lawyers work; should organize and carry out trainings in areas such as lawyers duties,service content, practice discipline, criminal procedure law knowledge for duty lawyers; promptly reporting statistics and other information such as the crimes which criminal suspects and defendants are involved with, summaries of the case facts, and consultative opinions; regularly using methods such as consulting their units and following up with parties to understand duty lawyers' performance of their duties; and implementing dynamic management of duty lawyers.

Legal aid institutions should report to lawyers associations on legal aid duty lawyers performance of their duties. Lawyers associations will enter information on performance as duty lawyers in lawyers annual performance reviews and their creditworthy service records.

Judicial-administrative organs should strengthen routine supervision and management of of lawyers provision of duty lawyer services, summarizing and continuously increasing the quality level of duty lawyer services. Lawyers violations of professional ethics and practice discipline during duty lawyer work are to be handled in accordance with law and regulations.

8. People's courts, people's procuratorates, detention centers are to provide necessary workspaces and facilities for legal aid stations. Detention center are to facilitate legal aid duty lawyers' meetings with detainees.

People's courts, people's procuratorates public security organs, state security organs, and judicial administrative organs are to establish a joint conference system for criminal legal aid efforts, regularly communicating on the situation of legal aid duty lawyers' work.

9. In regions and units where there are shortages of lawyer resources, legal aid institutions should, based on the requirements of lawyers resources and criminal legal aid, make overall planning and coordination of lawyers resources and explore establishment for mechanisms of government procurement of duty lawyer services,ensuring the normal order of legal aid duty lawyer work.

10. State security organs apply the relevant portions of these Opinions on public security organs.


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