China Issued Opinions on Pushing Legal Consultant System, Public and Corporate Counsel System

The Opinion would significantly improve the governmental practice by complying with rule of law.

To further China’s legal system reform, recently General Office of the CPC Central Committee and General Office of the State Council of PRC jointly issued Opinions on Pushing legal Consultant System, Public and Corporate Counsel System. The Opinion would significantly improve the governmental practice by complying with rule of law.

The Opinions is applied to all governmental branches, from central to grassroot level, the state-owned corporations and other government-affiliated institutions. But it is not applied to private held companies in China. All organizations in question can retain outside counsel, or hire public counsel, in house to provide legal consulting services for governmental activities and business operation (state-owned corporations).

First time, the Opinions adopts the conception of “Public Counsel (attorney, lawyer, in other words)” . Public Counsel is a legal profession employed by the government to provide legal services within the government and is part of public servant system. Public Attorney could not engage in private practice. (Compare the conception of “Legal Worker” in the grassroot government branches).

Now it is a compulsory requirement that the state-owned corporations have to have in-house or retain outside counsel. Actually most of state-owned corporations have already had similar setting. The difference between now and before is that in-house has to pass qualification requirements.

The issuing of the Opinions is the part of actions taken by China central government to implement Xi’s one of “Four Comprehensiveness” – Rule Nation by Rule of Law. This will significantly improve and add transparency to the governmental practice.



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