The Justice Ministry’s Legal Aid Center, approved by the State Staff Committee in December 1996, manages legal aid work nationwide authorized by the Ministry and, by the end of June 2003, had plans to establish offices across the whole country, 2,139 of them, or 83 percent, in counties and city districts. There are 8,899 full-time legal aid workers across the country, nearly 50 percent of them lawyers. In addition, there are lawyers, notaries, basic legal service workers and legal aid volunteers in some organizations, and law schools or law institutes taking part in legal aid as part of an organization.
Legal Aid Center
The Justice Ministry’s Legal Aid Center was established on December 18, 1996, followed by a ceremony in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, on May 26, 1997. It has offices and business, research, training, and publication divisions. A Justice Ministry Decision on Defining the Function of the Legal Aid Center put the Center under Ministry leadership specifically for legal aid work nationwide, where it has the following functions:
1. Study and draft policies, laws, regulations, rules and documents for legal aid work.
2. Supervise local legal aid work and its conduction.
3. Organize and publicize the legal aid system.
4. Manage the legal aid fund.
5. Organize a legal aid system and research.
6. Organize foreign discussions and cooperation in legal aid work.
7. Conduct other related matters for the Ministry of Justice.
Director: Deng Jiaming
Service director: Wang Junyi, Sang Ning
China Legal Aid Foundation
This is an independent social organization and legal person, established in 1997 with State Council approval and registered with the Civil Affairs Ministry as a national public foundation.
Objectives: Guarantee that all citizens enjoy equal protection under the law and protect the basic rights of all citizens as endowed by law.
Major tasks: Raise, manage, and apply legal aid funds, support the implementation of legal aid, and publicize the national legal aid system to promote justice.
The western China where the biggest problem is the demand for legal aid in contrast with lack of resources and a large number of poor people who qualify but cannot get access to legal aid, while it is very important and significant to support western provinces developing the cause of legal aid.
Providing legal aid for the infirm who have economic difficulties, such as sick persons, females, the elderly, can effectively protect their rights and interests, improve their well-being and their lives and environment, and realize social justice.