April 01, 2015

Chinese Lawyers Attend Criminal Justice Workshops

April 2015

In December 2014, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) collaborated with local partners to host two criminal law workshops in Beijing. A total of 40 young lawyers and law students attended the December 7 training, which sought to boost participants’ understanding of criminal defense under China’s new Criminal Procedure Law (CPL). The second event—held on December 26—was attended by 50 criminal judges, procurators and defense attorneys, and it focused on the implementation of the CPL.

The events were organized to enhance participants’ practical knowledge as well as their understanding of their roles in the criminal justice sector. The events also served as opportunities for trainees to join a growing professional network. ABA ROLI partnered with a local organization to organize the first training, which was led by three Chinese criminal defense experts. The interactive training focused on developing the lawyers’ ability to better defend the rights and interests of criminal defendants.

“Before I participated in the training, I had difficulty evaluating my own practical experience and developing better ways to select and design defense strategies,” said one of the participants. “In this training, I was able to learn from the professor’s deep insight and expertise on these issues. This training greatly broadened my thinking.”

Two local law firms offered financial support for a scholarship and internship opportunities for aspiring defense attorneys.

ABA ROLI worked with another local organization to host the December 26 conference, which focused on a series of current issues, including increased engagement of judges, lawyers and procurators at the trial stage; performance evaluations and their impact on judicial and procuratorial performance; and collaboration between government actors and criminal legal aid lawyers to improve criminal defense.

“I was very impressed with the discussion on trial centralism. Based on my over 20 years of experience as a judge, I share the Supreme People’s Court’s view that criminal responsibility should be determined in court,” said a judge who took part in the training. “Practical measures should be taken to promote this concept, such as requiring witnesses to be present for questioning in court and directly reviewing investigation results at trial. This conference was very helpful in bringing the various professions together to promote trial centralism.”

Both events are part of ABA ROLI’s U.S. Agency for International Development-funded program to support implementation of China’s CPL.

To learn more about our work in China, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.