City gov­ern­ment ap­points le­gal ad­vis­ers

Twelve ex­perts to help with va­ri­ety of govt work, law-re­lated mat­ters

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai


Five vet­eran pro­fes­sors from pres­ti­gious lo­cal univer­si­ties and seven lawyers who are lead­ing fig­ures in their re­spec­tive spe­cial­iza­tions have re­cently been ap­pointed as the first batch of part­time ad­vis­ers to Shang­hai’s mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment. These 12 ex­perts, who are on three­year con­tracts, will pro­vide prac­ti­cal sug­ges­tions for the city’s de­vel­op­ment and add a sci­en­tific el­e­ment to de­ci­sion­mak­ing pro­cesses.

Ac­cord­ing to the con­tracts, their job scope in­cludes par­tic­i­pat­ing in the for­mu­la­tion and re­view of gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions and doc­u­ments, aid­ing re­sponse to ad­min­is­tra­tive law­suits, pro­vid­ing risk anal­y­sis and as­sess­ment of ma­jor so­cial is­sues, as well as of­fer­ing ad­vice for ma­jor is­sues in­clud­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of a more law-based gov­ern­ment. These ex­perts will each earn 50,000 yuan ($7,855) ev­ery year.

“This is the first time such a le­gal coun­sel­ing sys­tem, which is com­mon in Western coun­tries, is be­ing adopted in a Chi­nese city. It is an in­no­va­tion to in­tro­duce an ex­ter­nal team of pro­fes­sion­als who can help author­i­ties bet­ter ad­min­is­ter law and en­hance its cred­i­bil­ity,” said Liu Hua, di­rec­tor of the Leg­isla­tive Af­fairs Of­fice of the Shang­hai mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment.

The 12 le­gal ad­vis­ers were se­lected from among nearly 100 peo­ple af­ter the city gov­ern­ment pub­lished a re­cruit­ment no­tice in May. Ap­pli­cants had to ful­fill strict re­quire­ments — univer­sity pro­fes­sors must have a se­nior pro­fes­sional ti­tle and lawyers should have at least 10 con­sec­u­tive years of ex­pe­ri­ence in Shang­hai. Those who are aged be­low 50 and play im­por­tant so­cial roles, such as mem­bers of the re­gional Peo­ple’s Congress, are pri­or­i­tized.

“I’m de­lighted to serve the gov­ern­ment with my le­gal knowl­edge and ca­pa­bil­i­ties. It’s an hon­or­able so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity,” said Chen Zhi­dong, a law pro­fes­sor at Fu­dan Univer­sity, who is one of the part-time le­gal ad­vis­ers.

Sheng Leim­ing, who is the di­rec­tor of Zhong­mao Law Firm, said the skills of part-time ad­vis­ers will com­ple­ment those of full-time ones, who are part of the city’s leg­isla­tive af­fairs of­fice.

“The full-time ad­vi­sors are fa­mil­iar with in­ter­nal op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures of the gov­ern­ment and the part-time ones are more neu­tral and have ex­ten­sive hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence. Such a com­bi­na­tion will jointly pro­pel the le­gal work of the gov­ern­ment,” Sheng said.

Each of the ad­vi­sors has re­ceived a per­son­al­ized list of du­ties for the first year on board with ref­er­ence to their pro­fes­sional area.

Sheng, whose ex­per­tise lies in civil and com­mer­cial af­fairs, has eight as­sign­ments for the first year. They in­clude draw­ing up, re­vis­ing and re­view­ing some reg­u­la­tion doc­u­ments and work­ing on a re­search pro­ject fo­cused on con­trol­ling the city’s ve­hi­cle num­bers and the auc­tion sys­tem of ve­hi­cle li­censes.

“Some­times a com­pany or an or­ga­ni­za­tion hires a part­time le­gal ad­viser who only at­tends one or two meet­ings a year, but this job has con­crete and spe­cific du­ties. The con­tract also elab­o­rates the con­fi­den­tial­ity obli­ga­tion and li­a­bil­ity for breach of con­tract,” Sheng added.

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