China to push for free legal aid system for suspects: MOJ

Updated 2017-08-29 09:33:48 Global Times

China will develop a system that allows lawyers to provide legal aid to suspects and defendants.

Under the new system, on-duty legal aid lawyers would provide services, such as timely legal consultations to suspects and defendants during the investigation and litigation process, according to a statement released on the Ministry of Justice website Monday.

Promoting the system is meant to protect the rights of suspects and defendants, as well as to complete the criminal legal aid system, strengthen legal protection to human rights and promote justice. On-duty lawyers would be sent to people's courts and detention houses from legal aid organizations, the post said.

For regions and units short of lawyers, legal aid organizations should assign lawyers based on need, the statement said. A mechanism that involves the hiring by the government of on-duty lawyers' services should be explored, it said.

Legal aid organizations have to report the performance of the on-duty lawyers to lawyers associations, which should consider the performance in the annual check and credit service records of the lawyers.

China issued a document in March urging more lawyers to participate in legal aid to provide better service. The document, jointly released by the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance, said that provincial judicial administrative authorities should assign a certain number of legal aid cases to lawyers, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

More than five million legal aid cases have been handled, and over 28 million people have received services since 2013, Xinhua reported.

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