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Academic Articles

Business Status of Lawyers
 

Keywords: Chinese lawyers, professional qualification, court, procuratorate, lawsuit, practicing license, certificate, license registration

 

Chinese lawyers play an independent role in lawsuits. They do not belong to courts or procuratorates, nor do they belong to their clients. They participate in lawsuits in order to maintain the legal rights and interests of their clients. They are independent. They enjoy not only rights of an ordinary participant in a lawsuit, but also rights compatible with the exercise of the duties of a lawyer. 

Qualifications for Licensing 
To practice, lawyers must first obtain professional qualifications and apply for a license after probation. After obtaining qualifications, they must receive the license for practicing in accordance with legal procedures in order to practice law as a lawyer. Only then can they enjoy the rights of lawyers while assuming duties accordingly. 

Individuals who have obtained legal qualifications may retain their qualifications and not engage in the legal profession for a period of time. This is known as separation of legal qualifications from legal practicing. 

1. Legal Qualifications 
Article 6 of the Lawyers Law provides that there are two ways for obtaining legal qualifications: through national examination or approval by judicial authorities. 

According to Article 6, "The state shall administer a national examination to determine lawyer qualification. Persons with a three-year college education in law and above or with equivalent qualifications, as well as persons with a bachelor's degree in other disciplines and above, can be awarded lawyer's qualifications by the State Council judicial administration after passing the national examination." 

Article 7 provides that persons with a four-year college education in law and above who have engaged in law studies and teaching and hold a senior professional title or with equivalent qualifications and who have applied for a practicing license may be granted lawyer's qualifications subject to approval by the State Council judicial authorities. 

2. Licensing 
a) Prerequisites for Applying for Practicing License 
Article 8 of the Lawyers Law states that applicants for a practicing license must support the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and meet the following requirements: 

• Fully qualified; 
• Full year of internship at a law firm; 
• Be in good standing. 

b) Rejection of Applications 
Article 9 states that applicants who meet any of the following conditions will be denied a practicing license: 

• Unable to perform civil acts or are restricted in performing civil acts; 
• Have been criminally penalized (but not including crimes of negligence); 
• Have been dismissed from public offices or had their practicing license revoked. 

c) Procedures for Applications 
Applicants must first submit, through their current or future law firm, all the required application documents to the local judicial authorities. According to Article 10 of the Lawyers Law, these documents should include the following: 

• Letter of application; 
• Certificate of Lawyer Qualification; 

• Internship Performance Evaluation by the law firm where the applicant has worked; 
• Copies of the applicant's identification documents. 

The local judicial authorities should form an opinion within 15 days of receipt of the application documents and report the matter to the provincial (autonomous regional/municipal) judicial authorities. The judicial authorities of the provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions should, after reviewing the documents submitted, grant a practicing license to applicants who meet the requirements as specified in the Lawyers Law within 30 days of receipt of the application. Those who fail to meet the requirements will be denied a practicing license and should be notified of the decision in a written form within 30 days of receipt of the application. 

d) Registration of License 
Lawyers should register their practicing license once a year; unregistered licenses are not valid. Registration is administered by judicial authorities above the Judicial Bureau at the provincial (municipal or autonomous regional) level. If necessary, registration can also be administered by judicial bureaus at the prefectural (city or county) level with authorization from higher judicial authorities. 

3
Licensing Restrictions 
Article 12 of the Lawyers Law provides that lawyers should practice at one law firm rather than at two or more simultaneously. No geographical restrictions should be imposed. 

Article 13 states that incumbent government office holders should not concurrently be lawyers. While serving on the Standing Committee of the People's Congress at various levels, lawyers should not practice. 

Article 14 provides that unlicensed persons should not practice as lawyers or represent or defend clients for a profit. 

Persons engaging in legal teaching and research should not be partners in a partnership or a cooperative law firm.

                                                                                                       Source: http://www.lawinfochina.com/legal/Display_6.asp

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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