Business in legal aid
Statistics show that, from 1997 to June 2003, there were at least 6,410,000 instances of legal consultation handled by legal aid institutions, about 800,000 different cases of legal aid handled, and nearly 970,000 people had their rights and interests protected through legal aid.
Main difficulties facing legal aid
The problems that legal aid workers face include conflicts between supply and demand in legal aid especially with the increase in publicity. More criminal defense cases are being handled by the courts, and requests for legal aid are too numerous to deal with. It is estimated that the country will see more than 700,000 cases requiring legal assistance annually but aid will be provided in only less than a fourth of those cases. Then there is the severe shortage of funds. The amount set aside by the State each year per person is less than 6 cents, which is far below the average of developing countries. The shortage of funds has severely hindered the development of legal aid.
Legal aid is an important system in many countries and the establishment of a legal aid system has been emphasized by Party leaders and administrators at different levels. Although in some economically less developed areas, there are still difficulties in building legal aid institutions and raising the necessary funds, still, with the development of the economy and society, those difficulties will gradually be overcome. In October 1998, the government signed the Convention on Citizen Rights and Political Rights and, after it is approved by Chinese legislators, legal aid as a basic right of all citizens will be part of an international obligation and international law. The implementation of the Regulation on Legal Aid established a basis for legal aid careers and the legal aid system will be increasingly more publicized and the understanding of the issue will be improved at different levels to bring legal aid to all citizens.