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New measures protect lawyers’ rights

发布日期:2015-10-10 来源:http://www.cqnet110.gov.cn/ 编辑: 阅读:

China on Sunday announced new measures to better safeguard lawyers' rights, but some lawyers expressed concerns over the implementation.

Jointly announced by the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Justice, Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate, the regulation says authorities should respect lawyers, improve their systems to ensure lawyers' rights, and safeguard lawyers' right to know, rights to apply and petition, and other rights including access to their clients, files, collecting evidence, debating, raising questions and others.

In particular, it enables lawyers to meet defendants in custody within 48 hours, which is often rejected in practice. Detention facilities cannot forbid lawyers from meeting their clients by arguing that the case is related to national security, terrorism or serious bribery, it added.

"China adopts an inquisitorial system which provides judges greater power to investigate the case, while lawyers' importance is diminished. The new regulation would attach importance to the lawyers' role and help them make greater contributions to the legal community," Zhou Hao, a lawyer from the Beijing-based Jia An Law Office, told the Global Times.

Zhou added that there was no specific explanation for the 48-hour interval in the past. "With the new regulation, detention facilities cannot use this loophole to stifle our investigations."

Some Chinese lawyers also faced threats or even physical injury, but the new regulation said that government bodies involved in the case should protect lawyers from similar attacks or insults.

An online search of "lawyer being attacked" on Chinese search engine Baidu yields a number of results, including the alleged attack on the lawyer representing a man was shot to death at a railway station in Heilongjiang Province in May.

Prosecutors and courts should allow defense counsels access to case files, and ensure that case files be read in three working days. Defense counsels will have unlimited access to these files, the regulation added.

Other lawyers are more concerned over the regulation's implementation.

Chinese lawyers have no right to investigate a case if it involves national security or terrorism, unless investigators approve of it. Authorities still decide the nature of a case and will rarely allow lawyers access, according to Mo Shaoping, a criminal defense lawyer.

"It remains to be seen whether the situation will change after the regulation is implemented. It needs to clarify the penalties to be imposed on those who hinder lawyers' access, and limits to authorities' power," Mo said.

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