Punishments ranged from notices of criticism to losing qualifications
While beefing up the protection of lawyers legitimate rights, lawyers' associations across the country are also regulating the industry to prevent malpractice.
More than 400 lawyers were disbarred or punished by lawyers' associations for malpractice last year, the All China Lawyers Association said on Friday.
Last year, lawyers associations at all levels nationwide received more than 6,800 complaints against lawyers, among which 409 cases were successfully solved with the lawyers having their qualification certificates revoked or facing disciplinary punishment.
Shi Hongying, a senior lawyer under the ACLA, said the lawyers were mostly punished for violation of professional ethics, dereliction of duty, charging too much or even disturbing court order.
Of the 409 cases, 180 received admonitions and warnings, 171 were circulated a notice of criticism or received public condemnation, while other cases received punishments involving termination of lawyers' membership rights or canceling their qualifications, according to the ACLA.
All-China Lawyers' Association. (File photo)
A typical case occurred in August when the Zhejiang Provincial Lawyer Association decided to revoke the qualification certificate of Qiu Haohua, a lawyer at Zhejiang Wenda Law Firm, for fabricating evidence.
In September 2016, Qiu was convicted of fabricating evidence but exempted from criminal punishment at a court in Zhejiang province due to its minor danger to society.
The verdict said that when he offered legal services to his clients for alleged illegally trading in foreign exchanges, he persuaded the suspect to make a false statement and offered false evidence to the court.
In August, the Zhejiang provincial justice department gave him an administrative punishment and revoked his lawyer's certificate.
"Such malpractice has seriously harmed the legitimate rights of the parties involved. We'll supervise local association branches to beef up management of law firms to prevent similar offenses," said Jiang Min, spokesman for the ACLA.
In March last year, the lawyers' association at the national and local levels set up two centers - one to protect lawyers' rights and the other to handle complaints and reports against lawyers.
Last year, the ACLA and its local branches received 502 complaints alleging infringement of lawyers' rights. Of those, 279 cases have been resolved, compared with 84 such cases in 2016 and 54 such cases in 2015. The others are still under investigation, the association said.
"When we receive complaints from the lawyers or against the lawyers, we'll immediately verify the facts, set up a team for further investigation and deal with the case in a timely manner, then give feedback about the results," Jiang said.