Poor legal petitioners to get financial assistance under new plan

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 February, 2008, 12:00am

Beijing will give petitioners legal subsidies as part of the capital's efforts to ease social discontent ahead of the Olympic Games.

Chi Qiang , president of Beijing Higher People's Court, said at a meeting on Monday that the capital would establish a legal subsidy fund that would also cover cases by petitioners. Many impoverished petitioners present to authorities in Beijing in last-ditch bids to resolve legal wrangles they are unable to resolve in their home provinces, often because of local body corruption. Traditionally, legal subsidies are only granted to those involved in civil cases and who are too poor to pay legal fees.

Mr Chi said the court hoped the move would help resolve some long overdue cases.

Beijing deputy party secretary Wang Anshun said at the same meeting the judiciary should play its part in building a harmonious society - especially in an 'Olympic year'.