Sunday, October 28, 2007

Amendments to Lawyer's Law Adopted

China's top legislature, the Standing Committee of the People's Congress, adopted amendments to the Lawyer's Law. The amendments should, as reported, bring some much needed good news to criminal lawyers.

One distinct change in the new Law will "make it easier for lawyers to meet criminal suspects and obtain evidence", because "Chinese attorneys have long complained of difficulties in meeting criminal suspects and having access to files and evidence when defending criminal cases."

Attorney-client privilege, a long coveted luxury for Chinese criminal defense lawyers, might become a reality to a certain extent. As reported, "[d]efense attorneys and criminal suspects will not be monitored when they have a conversation ... and defense lawyers are entitled to look up all files and materials relating to the case."

The amendments will also provide immunity to defense lawyers for their in-court comments and remarks. But the immunity can be had to the extent that the comments and remarks "do not threaten national security or slander others." But, as many know, the concept of "national security" is a very fluid one in China.

As the practice of law has gradually become more and more important to the Chinese society, these amendments represent yet another step forward in building a national under the "rule of law."

I will examine the amendments more closely and report other significant changes to the existing Lawyer's Law. Please check out my previous posts (I and II) on the anticipated amendments.

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