More du­ties and chances for at­tor­neys

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

Last Oc­to­ber, the Fourth Ple­nary Ses­sion of the 18th Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China de­cided to strengthen the rule of lawin the coun­try. To do so, hon­est and pro­fes­sional lawyers should play a more ac­tive role to pro­mote the rule of law, be­cause they are obliged to safe­guard the sta­bil­ity of the coun­try and de­fend cit­i­zens’ le­gal rights. For ex­am­ple, they can use the lawto help make just so­cial rules and su­per­vise the ju­di­cial pro­ce­dure to ful­fill their re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Ob­jec­tively speak­ing, lawyers mak­ing ef­forts to safe­guard na­tional sta­bil­ity is in line with the spirit of the rule of law, be­cause do­ing so is no longer only the re­spon­si­bil­ity of public se­cu­rity and procu­ra­to­rial or­gans, and peo­ple’s courts. This has be­come a so­cial is­sue on the premise that the coun­try is in a sound work­ing or­der.

Given this fact, any in­ter­fer­ence with or at­tempt to change the or­der will jeop­ar­dize na­tional sta­bil­ity. But this can be avoided with the help of rules, un­der which power is ex­er­cised to pro­tect the le­gal rights of all cit­i­zens, in­clud­ing lawyers.

In essence, the pro­fes­sion is de­signed to serve (the peo­ple) and rule (by law). In other words, lawyers have the re­spon­si­bil­ity to su­per­vise over the process of rule of law, and re­al­iz­ing it should be their ul­ti­mate pro­fes­sional goal. The on­go­ing leg­isla­tive, ad­min­is­tra­tive and ju­di­cial re­forms will fur­ther prompt lawyers to ful­fill their duty of de­fend­ing rights and reg­u­la­tions.

Such be­ing said, lawyers should be al­lowed to ex­press the im­pres­sion they gain while su­per­vis­ing over the ju­di­cial process. It is to be noted that some of them have been threat­ened with dire con­se­quences for putting their ideas in a rel­a­tively sharp man­ner.

In this sense, the pro­posal of the Fourth Ple­nary Ses­sion of the 18th CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee to form a com­mit­tee which will al­low lawyers and at­tor­neys spe­cial­iz­ing in gov­ern­ment-re­lated cases and com­pany dis­putes to work to­gether and sup­port each other points to the trend of mov­ing closer to in­ter­na­tional prac­tices. If it is re­al­ized, not only will the num­ber of prac­tic­ing lawyers in­crease, but it will also al­low them to play a big­ger role in gov­ern­ment or­gans and com­pa­nies.

The sig­nif­i­cance of the leg­is­la­ture-ex­ec­u­tive com­bi­na­tion used to be the high­light of leg­is­la­tion. But the “demo­cratic leg­is­la­tion” of the Fourth Ple­nary Ses­sion of the 18th CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee also re­quires the deeper in­volve­ment of sea­soned lawyers, be­cause it is aimed at im­prov­ing the ju­di­cial prac­tice and mak­ing it as rig­or­ous as a “ter­mi­na­tion clause”, which some coun­tries have adopted. It also calls for lawyers’ par­tic­i­pa­tion to strengthen the ac­count­abil­ity mech­a­nism for gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who make wrong de­ci­sions.

The cor­rec­tion of cases in­volv­ing un­just, false or wrong charges is just the be­gin­ning of a fairer ju­di­cial sys­tem, which hope­fully will pass more with­drawal ver­dicts on cases that lack ev­i­dence, or in which con­fes­sions have been ac­quired through tor­ture or other illegal means. The au­thor is a tenured pro­fes­sor at China Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Science and Law. The ar­ti­cle is based on a speech he de­liv­ered re­cently.


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