21 March 2012

New Pledge of Allegiance for Chinese Lawyers

The front page of today's Legal Daily carries notice of a new directive from the Ministry of Justice that, in future, all new lawyers in the PRC will be required to pledge an oath upon receiving their license to practice law. Turning to another item inside the paper, the content of the oath is revealed:
I volunteer to become a practicing lawyer of the People's Republic of China and promise to faithfully perform the sacred duties of a socialist-with-Chinese-characteristics legal worker (中国特色社会主义法律工作者); to be faithful to the motherland and the people; to uphold the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system; to safeguard the dignity of the constitution and the law; to practice on behalf of the people; to be diligent, professional honest, and corruption-free; to protect the legitimate rights and interests of clients, the correct implementation of the law, and social fairness and justice; and diligently strive for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics!
The directive (which can be found here, in its original documentary form) says that the pledge should be recited in a formal ceremony no later than three months after receiving approval to practice. Each lawyer will sign and date two copies of the oath, one of which will be placed in their file.

As far as I can tell, this will only affect new lawyers or lawyers who are re-applying for a license to practice. It would presumably not affect lawyers who already have a license and is not related to the annual registration process through which all lawyers must go.

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