The All China Lawyers Association has pledged to strengthen information sharing and joint investigations with the judicial authorities to prevent infringements of lawyers' rights.
The association will draft and circulate a notice about the rights of lawyers, coordinate some cross-regional cases, direct local branches to investigate incidents and tackle major cases, association spokesman Jiang Min said on Thursday.
Lawyers associations at both the national and local levels have set up a cooperative mechanism with judicial authorities, and officers in charge will meet regularly to discuss major concerns, including lawyers' difficulties in meeting with clients during detention and their personal safety. Solutions will be sought, he said.
"Upon receiving reports of serious violations of lawyers' rights, we will start the emergency response mechanism. Representatives of the lawyers association and judicial departments will immediately set up a working team to deal with the case and give feedback about the results," he said.
In October, the All China Lawyers Association and its local branches received 52 complaints alleging infringement of lawyers' rights. Of those, 19 cases have been resolved, with lawyers' rights protected. The others are still under investigation, the association said.
Jiang said most complaints were about the infringements of lawyers' rights to defend their clients－for example, lawyers said they were prevented from meeting with suspects during detention, or from reviewing case documents or collecting evidence.
Some lawyers were interrupted in their defense statements during court hearings, were expelled from the court or even assaulted or criminally detained by the opposing party or bailiffs, the association said.
In recent years, a growing number of cases involving harm to lawyers' rights have occurred across the country, attracting the attention of the public and media.
Since March, the lawyers' association has set up two centers－one to protect lawyers' rights, the other for handling complaints and negative reports about lawyers.
A typical case occurred in early October, when the Xiamen city lawyers association in Fujian province received a report from Peng Haitang, a lawyer from Xiamen Wenrong Law Firm, asserting that he had been assaulted by the opposing party during a break in a hearing in Zhenjiang Intermediate People's Court in Jiangsu province.
After receiving the report, the Xiamen lawyers association immediately asked the Zhenjiang lawyers association to conduct a joint investigation.
The Zhenjiang association reported it to the Jiangsu provincial lawyers association, which then reported the case to the Jiangsu provincial justice department and immediately set up a working team with judicial authorities in Xiamen and Zhenjiang.
On Oct 20, the Zhenjiang association and associated judicial departments met and assigned the tasks with different sectors to deal with the case. The parties involved have been criminally detained for disturbing court order.
According to the All China Lawyers Association, valuable experience will be gathered from local branches to smooth the channel for receiving and tackling lawyers' rights cases, while enhancing communication and cooperation with the judicial authorities to cut back on problems.
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