In July 2023, China’s Ministry of Justice(MOJ) released the “2022 Annual Statistical Analysis of Lawyers and Grassroots Legal Service Work”. The number of lawyers in China is growing by more than 10% per year, but the caseload has even experienced negative growth.
In June 2023, China’s Ministry of Justice announced that it has granted permission for five foreign law firms, including ALLEN & GLEDHILL LLP (SINGAPORE), to establish representative offices in China.
Since March 2023, Chinese law firms may jointly operate with foreign law firms in Qianhai Cooperation Area, Guangdong Province.
Most Chinese lawyers, especially litigators, traditionally only practice law locally. Online litigation, which has developed rapidly in China within the past five years, offers lawyers the opportunity to practice law remotely at a lower cost.
In October 2022, China's Supreme People's Court and other three authorities jointly issued “Opinions on Further Deepening the Pilot Program of Full Coverage of Lawyer's Defense in Criminal Cases”, which extends the stage where the criminal suspects could have a lawyer to the 'examination and prosecution' stage.
Though legal professional ethics has long been underappreciated in China, it has gradually enjoyed better status since 2015.
Are Chinese judges and prosecutors returning to law practice for higher income? Statistics show that only a few have changed their careers to lawyers.