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中华人民共和国律师法 THE LAW OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA ON LAWYERS

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(Adopted at the 19th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Eighth National People's Congress on May 15, 1996, promulgated by Order No. 67 of The President of the People's Republic of China on May 15, 1996)
时效性:已被修正  颁布日期:19960515  实施日期:19970101  失效日期:20020101  颁布单位:全国人大常委会

  Contents

  Chapter I General Provisions

  Chapter II Requirements for Practising Lawyers

  Chapter III Law Firms

  Chapter IV Business, Rights and Duties of Practising Lawyers

  Chapter V Lawyers' Associations

  Chapter VI Legal Aids

  Chapter VII Legal Responsibility

  Chapter VIII Supplementary Provisions

  Chapter I General Provisions

  Article 1 This Law is enacted for the purposes of improving the lawyer system, ensuring lawyers' carrying out business according to law, standardizing lawyers' activities, safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of the interested parties, guaranteeing the correct implementation of law and bringing into play the positive role of lawyers in the socialist legal construction.

  Article 2 For the purpose of this Law, “lawyers” refer to legal practitioners who have obtained a lawyer's business license according to law and provide legal service to the society.

  Article 3 Lawyers practising law must abide by the Constitution and other law of the People's Republic of China and strictly observe the professional ethics and disciplines.

  In practising law, lawyers must base themselves on facts and take the law as the criterion.

  Lawyers practising law shall be subjected to the supervision of the state, society and the interested parties.

  Lawyers' carrying out business according to law shall be protected by law.

  Article 4 The judicial administrative department of the State Council shall, in accordance with this Law, supervise and direct lawyers, law firms and lawyers' associations.

  Chapter II Requirements for Practising Lawyers

  Article 5 Those wishing to be practising lawyers shall acquire lawyer's credentials as well as business licenses.

  Article 6 The state shall adopt a system where unified national examinations shall be taken for the conference of lawyer's credentials. Persons who have graduate experience of junior college majoring in law or higher experience or have attained the same professional level, or those who have graduate experience of college majoring in other specialties than law or higher experience, may, after passing the qualification examination for lawyers, be conferred with lawyer's credentials.

  Measures for unified national examinations of lawyers' qualifications shall be formulated by the judicial administrative department of the State Council.

  Article 7 Persons having graduate or higher experience majoring in law, engaging in legal research or legal education and having a senior professional tittle or those having attained the same professional level, if applying to practise law, may, after examined and approved in accordance with the specified requirements by the judicial administrative department of the State Council, be conferred with lawyer's credentials.

  Article 8 Persons who support the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and meet the following conditions may apply for lawyer's licenses:

  (1) Possession of a lawyer's credential;

  (2) Have acted as an apprentice lawyer at a law firm for one year; and(3) Have good conduct.

  Article 9 Persons coming under any of the following categories shall not be conferred with lawyer's credentials:

  (1) Persons without capacity of civil conduct or persons with limited capacity of civil conduct;

  (2) Persons who have records of criminal punishments for intentional crimes; or

  (3) Persons who have been discharged from public employment or whose lawyer's licenses have been revoked.

  Article 10 Applicants for lawyer's licenses shall present the following documents:

  (1) The application;

  (2) Certification of lawyer's credential;

  (3) written appraisal on the applicant offered by the law firm with which the applicant has served as an apprentice lawyer; and

  (4) A copy of the applicant's identification.

  Article 11 Applications for lawyer's licenses shall be subject to the examination of the judicial administrative departments of people's governments at the provincial level or above. A lawyer's license shall be issued within 30 days after the receipt of the application if the conditions provided for in this Law are satisfied; if the conditions prescribed in this Law are not satisfied, no lawyer's license shall be issued and the applicant shall be notified in writing within 30 days after the receipt of the application.

  Article 12 A lawyer shall practise law at one but not two or more law firms.

  There is no restriction on regions where lawyers carry out business.

  Article 13 Personnel presently attached to state organs may not act as part-time practising lawyers.

  Lawyers may not practise law during their membership of the standing committee of people's congress at various levels.

  Article 14 Persons without a lawyer's license may not act in the name of lawyers, and they may not, for seeking economic interests, act as agents ad item or defenders.

  Chapter III Law Firms

  Article 15 A law firm is an organization with which lawyers practising law.

  A law firm shall meet the following conditions:

  (1) Has its own name, domicile and constitution;

  (2) Possession of assets of not less than 100,000 yuan; and

  (3) Has lawyers who are qualified according to this Law;

  Article 16 Law firms established with funds provided by the state shall be independent in their professional activities according to law, and the debt of such a law firm shall be secured with its total assets.

  Article 17 Cooperative law firms may be established by lawyers and the debt of such a law firm shall be secured with its total assets.

  Article 18 Partnership law firms may be established by lawyers, and the partners shall undertake unlimited and joint liability for their partnership's debts.

  Article 19 Applications for establishing law firms shall be subject to the examination of the judicial administrative departments of people's governments at the provincial level or above. A law firm's business license shall be issued within 30 days after the receipt of the application if the conditions provided for in this Law are satisfied; if the conditions prescribed in this Law are not satisfied, no license shall be issued and the applicant shall be notified in writing within 30 days after the receipt of the application.

  Article 20 Law firms may set up their branch offices. The establishment of such a branch office shall be subject to the examination by the judicial administrative department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government where the branch office is to be set up. Said examination shall be conducted according to the prescribed conditions.

  A law firm shall be liable for the debts of its branch offices.

  Article 21 In case there is any change in major matters such as the name, domicile, constitution or partners of a law firm or in case of disband ment of a law firm, the law firm shall submit it to the department originally conducting the examination.

  Article 22 Law firms shall, in accordance with their constitutions, organize lawyers to develop their business, study law and the state's policies and sum up and exchange work experiences.

  Article 23 The mandates for lawyers to handle cases shall be accepted exclusively by the law firm with the mandate contracts concluded with the mandatory and service fees collected in accordance with the state's provisions and entered into the account book of the law firm.

  Law firms and lawyers shall pay taxes in accordance with law.

  Article 24 Law firms and lawyers may not canvass business by resorting to unjust tactics such as slandering other lawyers or paying introduction commission.

  Chapter IV Business, Rights and Duties of Practising Lawyers

  Article 25 Lawyers may conduct the following business:

  (1) Accept the mandate of citizens, legal persons and other organizations to serve as their legal advisers;

  (2) Accept the mandate of a party to a civil or administrative action to serve as his representative in litigation;

  (3) Accept the mandate of criminal suspects in criminal cases, provide them with legal consultancy, act on their behalf to make petitions or complaints, and apply for them for bailing out for summons; accept the mandate of criminal suspects or the defendants or the assignment of the people's courts to serve as defenders; accept the mandate of prosecutors in private prosecutions, victims in public prosecutions or their near relatives to serve as their representatives in litigation;

  (4) Serve as a legal representative to make petition with regard to various cases;

  (5) Accept the mandate of a party to serve as his representative in mediation and arbitration;

  (6) Accept the mandate of a party in non litigious matter to provide him with legal assistance; and

  (7) Give consultative advice on legal questions and draft documents in connection with litigation or other legal matters.

  Article 26 A lawyer who is retained as a legal adviser shall have the responsibility to give advice on legal questions to the client, draft and examine legal documents for it, represent it in litigation, mediation or arbitration, handle other legal affairs entrusted by the client and safeguard its lawful rights and interests.

  Article 27 When acting as representatives in litigation and non litigious matters, lawyers shall have the responsibility to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of their clients within the scope of mandate.

  Article 28 When acting as defenders in criminal cases, lawyers shall, on the basis of the facts and the law, advance materials and opinions proving the innocence of the criminal suspect or the defendant, the pettiness of his crime and the need for a mitigated punishment or exemption from criminal responsibility, thus safeguarding the lawful rights and interests of the criminal suspect or the defendant.

  Article 29 The party giving the mandate may refuse to have his attorney at law continue to defend him or serve as his legal representative and may retain another lawyer as his defender or legal representative.

  Without justifiable reasons, A lawyer having accepted a mandate shall not refuse to give defense or serve as representative, provided that the lawyer has right to refuse to serve as defenders or legal representatives if the entrusted matters are illegal, the party giving the mandate commits illegal acts by taking advantage of the legal assistance provided by lawyer, or the party giving the mandate hold back the facts.

  Article 30 When participating in litigation, lawyers may, in accordance with the provisions of the procedure law, collect and consult materials relating to the current case, meet and correspond with persons in custody, attend to the court and participate in the proceedings and have other rights provided for by the procedure law.

  The right to debate or defense of lawyers who act as agents ad litem or defenders in litigation shall be guaranteed according to law.

  Article 31 With the consent of relevant units or persons, lawyers undertaking legal affairs may inquire matters of them.

  Article 32 The personal rights of lawyers shall not be infringed when they carry out business.

  Article 33 Lawyers shall keep confidential state secrets and trade secrets of their clients which they got to know in their business. They may not divulge matters of personal privacy of their clients.

  Article 34 A lawyer may not serve as legal representatives for both parties to a case.

  Article 35 When carrying out business, lawyers may not commit the following acts:

  (1) Privately accept mandate and collect service fees or accept money or goods from clients;

  (2) Take advantage of their business to seek interests under dispute of the parties or accept money or goods from the other party;

  (3) Meet judges, public prosecutors or arbitrators in violation of relevant provisions;

  (4) Give dinners, send gifts or offer bribes to judges, public prosecutors, arbitrators or other relevant persons, or instigate or induce their clients to resort to bribes;

  (5) Give false evidence, hold back the facts or threaten or lure others by promise of gain to give false evidence, holdback the facts, or obstruct the other party lawfully obtaining evidence; or

  (6) Disturb the court or arbitration orders and interfere with the normal process of litigation or arbitration.

  Article 36 Within two years after leaving their posts from people's courts or people's procuratorates, lawyers who were judges or public procurators may not act as agents ad litem or defenders.

  Chapter V Lawyers' Associations

  Article 37 Lawyers' associations are social organizations with the status of a legal person. they are self-disciplinary organizations of lawyers.

  A national lawyers' association by the name of All-China Lawyers' Association shall be established. Provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government shall have their local lawyers' associations. Districted cities may establish their local lawyers' associations if necessary.

  Article 38 The Constitution of Lawyers' Associations shall be formulated by the national congress of members of lawyers' associations and submitted to the judicial administrative department of the State Council for filing.

  Article 39 Lawyers must join the local lawyers' associations in the place of their residence. Lawyers who have joined local lawyers' associations are naturally members of All-China Lawyers' Association.

  Members of lawyers' associations shall, in accordance with the Constitution of Lawyers' Associations, enjoy and perform the rights and duties provided for in the Constitution.

  Article 40 Lawyers' associations shall have the following duties:

  (1) Guarantee lawyers' carrying out business according to law and safeguard lawyers' legitimate rights and interests;

  (2) Sum up and exchange lawyers' work experiences;

  (3) Organize professional training for lawyers;

  (4) Carry out education on and conduct inspection and supervision over lawyers' professional ethics and disciplines;

  (5) Organize lawyers to develop foreign exchanges;

  (6) Conduct mediation over disputes arising from lawyers' professional activities; and

  (7) Other duties provided for by law.

  Lawyers' associations may, in accordance with their Constitution, give their lawyers rewards or disciplinary sanctions.

  Chapter VI Legal Aids

  Article 41 Where any citizen needs legal assistance with regard to support, industrial injury, criminal action, claim for state indemnity and claim for paying pension according to law, and so on, he may, if he cannot afford to pay the service fee, obtain the legal aid in accordance with the state's provisions.

  Article 42 Lawyers must, in accordance with the state's provisions, undertake the duties on legal aids, do their duties conscientiously and provide the recipient person with legal service.

  Article 43 The concrete measures for legal aids shall be formulated by the judicial administrative department of the State Council and submitted to the State Council for approval.

  Chapter VII Legal Responsibility

  Article 44 If any lawyer commits any of the following acts, the judicial administrative department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government or districted city shall give him a warning, or a punishment of business suspension for a time period from three months to one year if the circumstances are serious, and confiscate his illegal earnings, if any:

  (1) Serve as a practising lawyer with two or more law firms at the same time;

  (2) Serve as legal representatives for both parties in a case;

  (3) Canvass business by resorting to unjust tactics such as slandering other lawyers or paying introduction commission;

  (4) Without justifiable reasons, refuse to give defense or serve as a representative after accepting the mandate;

  (5) Without justifiable reasons, fail to appear at court for the proceedings or arbitration on time;

  (6) Divulge trade secrets or matters of personal privacy of their clients;

  (7) Privately accept mandate and collect fees from clients, ask for or accept money or goods from clients, take advantage of their business to seek interests under dispute of the parties, or accept money or goods from the other party;

  (8) Meet judges, public prosecutors or arbitrators in violation of relevant provisions, or give dinners or send gifts to the judges, public prosecutors, arbitrators or other relevant persons;

  (9) Obstruct the other party lawfully obtaining evidence;

  (10) Disturb the court or arbitration orders and interfere with the normal process of the litigation or arbitration; and

  (11) Other acts deserving to be punished.

  Article 45 Lawyers committing any of the following acts shall be revoked of their lawyer's business licenses by the judicial administrative department of the people's government of province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government, or, if a crime is constituted, be investigated for criminal responsibility:

  (1) Divulge the state's secrets;

  (2) Offer bribes to judges, public prosecutors, arbitrators or other relevant persons, or instigate or induce their clients to resort to bribes; or

  (3) Give false evidence, hold back important facts or threaten or lure others by promise of gain to give false evidence or hold back important facts.

  Lawyers subjected to criminal punishment for intentional crimes shall be revoked of their lawyer's business licenses.

  Article 46 If any person passes himself off as a lawyer and engages in legal service, the public security organ shall order him to halt the illegal business and confiscate his illegal earnings and may concurrently impose a fine of not exceeding 5,000 yuan and a detention for a period of not exceeding 15 days.

  If any person, without a lawyer's business license, engages in the business of agents ad litem or defenders for the purpose of economic interests, the judicial administrative department of the county-level or higher local people's government in the place of the person's residence shall order him to halt the illegal business and confiscate his illegal earnings and may concurrently impose a fine from one to five times the illegal earnings.

  Article 47 If a law firm commits any act in violation of this Law, the judicial administrative department of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government shall order it to make corrections and confiscate its illegal earnings and may concurrently impose a fine from one to five times the illegal earnings or, if the circumstances are serious, order it to suspend the business for rectification or revoke its business license.

  Article 48 The party who refuses to accept the decision of administrative punishment on him made by the judicial administrative department may, within 15 days after receiving the decision, apply for reconsideration to the judicial administrative department at the immediately higher level; if he refuses to accept the reconsideration decision, he may, within 15 days after receiving the reconsideration decision, institute a lawsuit with the people's court; or he may institute a lawsuit with the people's court directly.

  If the party subjected to a fine neither applies for reconsideration or institute a law suit with the people's court nor perform the decision on fine, the judicial administrative department making the decision may apply to the people's court for compulsory enforcement.

  If the applicant applying for a lawyer's credential under Article 11 of this Law or applying for the establishment of a law firm under Article 19 of this Law refuses to accept the decision on withholding of the lawyer's credential or business license, he may apply for reconsideration or institute a lawsuit in accordance with the procedure stipulated in Paragraph 1.

  Article 49 If a lawyer causes damage to his client by carrying out business in violation of law or due to his fault, the law firm which the lawyer belongs to shall be liable for the compensation. The law firm having given the compensation shall have recourse against the lawyer who has willful misconduct or culpable negligence.

  Lawyers and law firms shall not exempt themselves from or restrict the civil liability they should bear for carrying out business in violation of law or for their faults.

  Chapter VIII Supplementary Provisions

  Article 50 This Law shall be applicable to military lawyers providing legal service to the army with regard to the acquirement of lawyer's credentials, lawyers' rights, duties and codes of conduct. The concrete administrative measures for military lawyers shall be separately formulated by the State Council and the Central Military Commission.

  Article 51 Administrative measures for institutions engaging in prescribed legal service established in China by foreign law firms shall be formulated by the State Council.

  Article 52 The measures for the collection of lawyers' service fees shall be formulated by the judicial administrative department of the State Council and submitted to the State Council for approval.

  Article 53 This Law shall enter into force on January 1, 1997. The Interim Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Lawyers adopted on August 26, 1980 by the 15th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Fifth National Congress shall cease to be in force thereupon.

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