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Preliminary Review of Approving the Practice of Representatives of Foreign Law Firms’ Representative Offices in China
2012-05-30 10:30:26

Preliminary Review of Approving the Practice of Representatives of Foreign Law Firms’ Representative Offices in China

Project Name:

Preliminary Review of Approving the Practice of Representatives of Foreign Law Firms’ Representative Offices in China

Department Responsible:

Department of Justice of Zhejiang Province

Project Type:

Contact Persons:

Chen Yuze and Yue Hong

The Office in Charge of Lawyers, Department of Justice of Zhejiang Province

Contact Numbers:

(0571) 87054376, 87054411

Target of Service:

Legal persons

Time Limit:

Three months

Expenses:

None

Bases for Establishment:

  (1)Article 9 of the Regulations on Administration of Representative Offices of Foreign Law Firms in China: “The judicial administrative department of the people’s government of a province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government shall, within three months from the receipt of application documents, complete the review and hand over the application documents to the judicial administrative department of the State Council, together with their review opinions. The judicial administrative department of the State Council shall make a decision within six months. Where an application is approved, a practice license shall be issued to the Representative Office and practicing certificates shall be issued to its representatives. Where an application is not approved, reasons shall be given in writing.”

  (2)Article 29 of the Provisions of the Ministry of Justice on Executing the Regulations on Administration of Representative Offices of Foreign Law Firms in China: “The application documents submitted by a foreign law firm for its representatives shall be handled by the department of justice of a province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government according to the following:

  i. If all the required application documents are submitted, the application shall be handled in accordance with Article 9 of the Regulations;

  ii. If any of the required application documents is not submitted, the applicant shall be notified within fifteen days from the receipt of application documents to submit the other required documents. If the applicant submits the other required documents within three months of the initial submission of application documents, the application shall be handled in accordance with the above item. If the applicant fails to submit the other required documents within three months of the initial submission of application documents, a decision shall be made to reject the application and a written notification shall be sent to the applicant within fifteen days.”

Requirements for Application:

  (1) Representatives must be practicing lawyers and members of the bar association in the country where they obtained the practice qualifications;

  (2) Representatives must have practiced outside China for no fewer than two years and not have been penalized for criminal offences or for any violation of professional ethics or practice discipline;

  (3) The chief representative must have practiced outside China for no fewer than three years and must be a partner of or hold an equivalent position in the foreign law firm.

Details on Application Documents:

(1) The application letter signed by the person principally in charge of the foreign law firm. The application letter shall include:

  i. General information concerning the proposed representatives;

  ii. Positions and duration of the proposed representatives;

  iii. An undertaking to abide by the following: “Representatives of the Representative Office must be practicing lawyers and members of the bar association in the country where they obtained the practice qualifications, and must have practiced outside China for no fewer than two years and not have been penalized for criminal offences or for any violation of professional ethics or practice discipline; the chief representative must have practiced outside China for no fewer than three years and must be a partner of or hold an equivalent position in the foreign law firm”;

  iv. An undertaking to ensure the truthfulness, completeness and accuracy of the provided information and documents, and to ensure that the Chinese translation is consistent with the original text;

  v. An undertaking to abide by Chinese laws, regulations and rules after the application is approved;

  vi. An undertaking to continually purchase compliant insurance against practice risks after the application is approved;

  (2) Authorization letters from the foreign law firm to the proposed representatives of its Representative Office, and a confirmation letter that the proposed chief representative is a partner of or holds an equivalent position in the foreign law firm;

  (3) Documents evidencing the practice qualifications of the proposed representatives of the Representative Office, and evidencing that the proposed chief representative has practiced outside China for no fewer than three years and the other proposed representatives have practiced outside China for no fewer than two years;

  (4) Documents from the bar association in the country where the foreign law firm is located, evidencing that the proposed representatives of the Representative Office are members of the bar association in the country where the foreign law firm is located;

  (5) Documents from the department in charge of lawyers in the country where the foreign law firm is located, evidencing that the proposed representatives have not been penalized for criminal offences or for any violation of professional ethics or practice discipline;

  (6) A duplicate of the documents concerning the insurance against practice risks purchased for the proposed representatives;

  (7) The proposed representatives’ identification (passport), curriculum vitae and three recently-taken two-inch bareheaded color photos;

(8) Other documents required by the judicial administrative department.

Notes:

  (1) The documents listed from (2) to (6) above must be notarized by a notary or notary office in the applicant’s own country, and certified by the department in charge of foreign affairs in the applicant’s own country or organizations authorized by the department in charge of foreign affairs in the applicant’s own country, and must be further certified by China’s embassy (consulate) in the applicant’s own country;

  (2) All the application documents must be submitted in the form of three originals and three duplicates, with Chinese translation attached for any document written in a foreign language.

Procedure:

  (1) The Department of Justice of the province shall complete its review within three months from the receipt of application documents. If all the application documents are submitted, application documents shall be submitted with review opinions to the Ministry of Justice; if any of the application documents is not submitted, the applicant shall be notified within fifteen days from the receipt of application documents to submit the other required documents. If the applicant submits the other required documents within three months from the initial submission of application documents, application documents shall be submitted with review opinions to the Ministry of Justice; if the applicant fails to submit the other required documents within three months from the initial submission of application documents, a decision shall be made to reject the application and a written notification shall be sent to the applicant within fifteen days.

  (2) The Ministry of Justice shall make a decision within six months from the receipt of application documents and review opinions from the Department of Justice of the province. If all the requirements are satisfied, a letter of approval shall be sent to the applicant and the Department of Justice of the province shall be notified to issue practice certificates to the representatives; if any of the requirements is not satisfied, reasons shall be given in writing.

Flow Chart:

  The chart of the handling procedure

Forms to be Downloaded:

Online Application:

Inquiries about Results:

Supervision:

Telephone number: (0571) 87054410, 87054411

 

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