Lawyers face corruption crackdown
By DICK CHAN
LAWYERS in Guangdong are facing a crackdown on unethical and illegal conduct if a new set of draft laws is approved.
Called the Guangdong Lawyer Regulations, the legislation will come into effect in April if it is passed by the current session of the standing committee of the Guangdong People's Congress, which opened on Monday.
It will also be the first such regulation in the country as the draft of a national law is still in the pipeline.
Luo Shengan, vice-chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Guangdong People's Congress standing committee, told delegates that lax management had allowed greed to corrupt the legal profession.
A recent survey carried out in Guangzhou showed that there were serious problems in the profession.
They included the claiming of additional and unreasonable charges from clients, and deliberately causing civil conflicts. The draft now under deliberation lists six situations of which lawyers should steer clear, according to a dispatch from the official China News Service (CNS).
Lawyers should not accept the commissioning of cases nor receive fees on a personal basis, the CNS said.
They should not demand extra charges which are not stated in a contract from their clients or other persons involved.
Deliberate cheating or instructing other people to present false information or evidence in court proceedings; attempting to influence the relevant authorities in a prosecution, or trying to influence verdicts; and competition by unjustified measures are all ruled out under the new legislation, the news service said.
It added that there were provisions on punishments for these offences.
At present, there are 5,589 practising lawyers and 485 law firms in Guangdong.