Key Points of Legal Aid in 2016


The overall plan of legal aid in 2016 is as follows: 

We should center on social development needs to extend the scope of legal aid and improve its quality. We should enhance our ability to guarantee legal aid, improve its system, protecting the lawful interests of disadvantaged people and safeguarding social fairness and justice. By doing so, we will contribute to building a socialist country based on law.

We should achieve the following tasks:

1.Extending the scope of legal aid

(1)We should extend the scope of civil and administrative legal aid. We should encourage provincial authorities to promulgate or revise regulations or policies to specify the standards of legal aid, include issues like labor security, family law, medical, food, health and education needs into legal aid and set eligibility thresholds at the low-income family level.

(2)We should further strengthen criminal legal aid. We should reform the legal system that centers now only on judgment, and improve the role and function of legal aid in the criminal justice system. We should improve the trial system in cases where parties are represented by duty lawyers in rapid adjudication. We should help regional legal departments to establish and improve a defense system that relies on the regulations concerned. We should improve the application mechanism and coordinate the people's court, the public security bureau and the people's procuratorate to record and transfer applications. We should explore ways for legal aid lawyers to take part in criminal cases and enhance our efforts to offer legal aid to victims of crime.

(3)We should make the legal aid network available to urban and rural communities in different ways, including public service centers, telephone hotlines and online platforms. We should improve and standardize our 12348 hotline and introduce innovative ways to better offer counseling. We should ensure members of the public can obtain answers at service centers and via the hotline and offer them more care. We should also provide public legal education.

2.Improving the quality of legal aid

(4)We should standardize legal aid service. We should study and formulate criteria for quality of legal aid in criminal cases. We should establish and improve a quality assessment system including peer review, establish an expert pool for peer review, and improve personnel training and standards for withdrawal from cases. We should help regional authorities implement relevant regulations and improve procedures.

(5)We should enhance IT investment. We should upgrade the national legal aid information management system, improve its functions like data collection, quality supervision and performance appraisal, and establish regulations about its use. We should develop standards for an IT system of information management, promote its use at grassroots legal aid centers and workstations, optimize how legal aid is processed and try to accept, examine and assign lawyers online. We should make better use of big data to establish a comprehensive analytic platform so that we can collect and analyze information and issue notices online. We should build a big data center to collect and summarize historical data and set up a system for uploading statistics. 

(6)We should strengthen supervision. We should improve measures to protect the rights and interests of legal aid lawyers to ensure their enthusiasm. We should establish a system to assess legal aid agencies to urge them and lawyers to do their jobs by law. We should review the quality of cases and improve it by hearings and file examination. We should enhance our supervision of assignments given to non-legal department employees and better handle complaints. 

(7)We should provide good legal aid to low-income manual laborers, the disabled, the elderly, left-behind kids, and small-and-micro-sized companies. We should optimize our services through innovation and establish long-term effective procedures.