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SPC Provisions on ensuring lawyers' procedural rights


The Supreme People's Court's Provisions on Truly Ensuring Lawyer's Procedural Rights in Accordance with Law

The following Provisions have been issued in order to deepen the implementation of the strategy of ruling the country according to law, to give full play to lawyers to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of parties, to promote the positive purpose of the just administration of justice, to earnestly protect the procedural rights of lawyers, and has been issued in accordance with the People's Republic of China's Criminal Procedure Law, Civil Procedure Law, Administrative Procedure Law, Lawyers Law and the 'SPC, SPP, MPS, Ministry of State Security and Ministry of Justice's Provisions On Ensuring Lawyers' Procedural Rights':

I. Lawfully ensuring lawyers right to know in accordance with law. People's courts shall continuously improve public disclosure of trial procedures, public disclosure of judgments, execution of the construction of the 'three big platforms'for information disclosure, and facilitate the [capacity] of lawyers to promptly obtain procedural information. [trans note: more on 三大平台 here] Court procedures, the protection of procedural rights, mediation and settlement, judicial decisions, etc. and other important matters and the status of related developments, shall be promptly conveyed to lawyers.

II. Lawfully ensuring the right of lawyers to read case files in accordance with law. Where a lawyer has applied to read a case file, it shall be organized within a reasonable [合理] time. Where access to read case file materials is sought by other parties to the proceedings, a time for each/every party to read the files shall be coordinated and arranged. For lawyers [seeking] to refer to, excerpt, or copy relevant case file materials or examine audiovisual records of trial, a place and facilities shall be provided [to them]. For courts possessing the facilities, they may provide online file reference/examination services.

III. Lawfully ensure lawyers' right to appear at court . Necessary time shall be left for lawyers' preparations to appear at court, when confirming the date for the commencement of trial. Where special circumstances warrant alteration of the date for commencement of trial, lawyer(s) shall be notified 3 days in advance. Where [a] lawyer(s) applies for alteration of the date for commencement of the trial for ordinary reasons, the judge may solicit the views of the other parties [to the proceeding] before granting permission. Lawyers shall be permitted to bring assistants with them in court appearances.

IV. Lawfully ensure lawyers' rights to debate and defend. During trial, the judge shall appropriately allocate the time of each party to the proceeding to raise questions, to examine the evidence, to make statements, to debate or to make defense, and shall fully listen to the opinions of the lawyers. Except under circumstances such as where a lawyer's statements are excessively repetitive or irrelevant to the case or where the relevant questions have been agreed upon before trial, [the judge] shall not interrupt the lawyer.

V. Lawfully ensure lawyers' right to apply for the exclusion of illegal evidence. Where a lawyer applies for the exclusion of illegal evidence and provides relevant clues or materials, and after review, the judge has doubts about the legality of the collection of evidence, [s/he] shall convene pre-trial conference or conduct courtroom investigations. Where upon a hearing it is confirmed that there is a situation of illegal evidence gathering as provided by law; the relevant evidence shall be excluded.

VI. Lawfully ensure lawyers right to apply for the collection of evidence. Where lawyers are unable to to gather evidence for objective reasons, they may apply to the people's court in writing to collect the evidence. Where a lawyer's application for the collection of evidence complies with statutory requirements, the judge shall grant the application.

VII. Lawfully ensure lawyers' personal safety. Where, during handling of case, situations emerge where the parties' conflicts intensify and may endanger the lawyers' personal safety, [the court] shall promptly take necessary measures. For actions occurring in courtroom such as assaulting, intimidating, insulting, and defaming lawyers, the judge shall stop them immediately and handle according to law.

VIII. Lawfully ensure lawyers' right to represent [clients] in making petitions. Where lawyers represent their clients in making petitions of cases, [the courts] shall diligently handle according to statutory procedures. Where [the courts] deem the handling of the original cases correct, they shall supports the lawyers' efforts to explain the laws and reasons to the petitioners and to cease litigations and petitions.

IX. Facilitate lawyers' performance of their profession. Further perfect online functions such as filing cases, paying fees, making inquiries, reviewing files, applying for preservation, submitting briefs, scheduling court sessions, and serving papers. Courts with the proper conditions shall provide rest areas to the lawyers attending trials and equip desks, chairs, drinking water and other necessary facilities.

X. Improve relief mechanisms for ensuring lawyers procedural rights. Shall designate special institutions to be in charge of handling the lawyers' complaints, disclose contact information, and clear complaint channels. Promptly investigate the complaints, handle according law, and promptly notify the lawyers of the results. Promptly respond to the suggestions put forward by the administrative departments of justice and by the lawyers' associations on safeguarding lawyers' practicing rights.

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