New Laws and Regulations

Legal aid measures due to take effect

Updated: Aug 28, 2023 chinadaily.com.cn Print
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The revised Procedures for Handling Legal Aid Cases will take effect on Sept1, further optimizing application procedures for legal aid and streamlining the review process, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Legal aid is a system that provides free legal advice, representation and criminal defense services to economically disadvantaged citizens and other eligible parties. The Law on Legal Aid, which took effect on Jan 1, 2022, expanded the scope of legal aid, added forms of legal aid services and specifically regulated the procedures and implementation of legal aid.

The revised procedures also stipulate for individuals who may be sentenced to life imprisonment or death penalty, as well as defendants in death penalty review cases, legal aid organizations are required to assign lawyers with more than three years of criminal defense experience to act as counsel.

For criminal cases involving juveniles, legal aid organizations are required to assign lawyers who are familiar with the physical and mental characteristics of minors.

In 2022, legal aid organizations nationwide handled more than 1.37 million legal aid cases and provided legal advice over 19.8 million times.

Sun Chunying, an inspector at the ministry's bureau of public legal services administration, said with the rapid development of the internet platform economy, issues regarding the protection of the rights of new forms of employment have attracted social attention.

To safeguard the legitimate rights of these workers, the awareness and coverage of legal aid have been expanded. The ministry has encouraged local authorities to prioritize them as the focus of legal aid, Sun said.

For migrant workers who apply for payment of labor remuneration or seek compensation for personal injury in work-related accidents, their economic difficulties will not be subject to verification. It is also important to guide workers to uphold their rights in a rational and lawful manner, she said.

Furthermore, considering the large scale and wide geographical distribution of these workers, mechanisms for cross-regional collaboration in legal aid have been established in regions such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta, thus reducing the cost of seeking justice for these workers in different regions, she said.

In 2022, legal aid organizations nationwide handled 468,000 legal aid cases for migrant workers, benefiting 525,000 individuals.

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