Full coverage of lawyer’s defense in criminal cases means that the government and the judicial authorities must ensure that criminal suspects have their own lawyers from the point on which they are allowed by the law to entrust defense lawyers.
On 12 Oct. 2012, China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC), the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP), the Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) issued the “Opinions on Further Deepening the Pilot Program of Full Coverage of Lawyer’s Defense in Criminal Cases” (hereinafter the “Opinions”, 关于进一步深化刑事案件律师辩护全覆盖试点工作的意见).
The Opinions stipulates that the government and judicial authorities must provide defense lawyers for the criminal suspects without lawyers immediately during the period of examination and prosecution by procuratorates.
Criminal proceedings in China include three stages: the investigation stage by public security organs, the examination and prosecution stage by procuratorates, and the trial stage by courts.
In October 2017 and December 2018, the SPC and the MOJ respectively issued policies to provide lawyers for defendants without lawyers at the trial stage.
This policy further proposes that procuratorates should also provide lawyers for the criminal suspects at the stage of examination and prosecution.
The lawyers provided by the government and judicial authorities are mainly those designated by legal aid agencies and duty lawyers stationed at judicial authorities.
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Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team