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  • 外国律师事务所驻华代表机构管理条例 Administration of Representative Offices of Foreign Law Firms in China Regulations1

    国务院令第338号
    (Promulgated by the State Council on 22 December 2001 and effective as of 1 January 2002.)
    颁布日期:20011222  实施日期:20020101  颁布单位:国务院

      PART ONE GENERAL PROVISIONS

      Article 1 These Regulations are formulated in accordance with the PRC, Lawyers Law in order to regulate the establishment and legal services of Representative Offices of foreign law firms in China.

      Article 2 These Regulations are applicable to Representative Offices established by foreign law firms in China (the Representative Offices) engaged in legal services.

      Article 3 In the course of providing legal services, Representative Offices and their representatives shall abide by China's laws, regulations and rules, and shall observe the professional ethics and practice discipline of Chinese lawyers, and shall not do harm to national security or the public interest of China.

      Article 4 Representative Offices and their representatives engaged in the provision of legal services in accordance with these Regulations are protected by China's laws.

      Article 5 Foreign law firms shall bear the civil obligations for legal services provided by their Representative Offices and representatives in China.

      PART TWO ESTABLISHMENT, CHANGE AND CANCELLATION OF REPRESENTATIVE OFFICES

      Article 6 Foreign law firms shall be approved by the judicial administrative department of the State Council for setting up Representative Offices and for the dispatch of representatives in China.

      No foreign law firms, other foreign institutions or individuals may engage in the provision of legal services in China in the name of a consulting company or under other names.

      Article 7 If a foreign law firm applies to establish a Representative Office and to dispatch any representative in China, it shall meet the following requirements:

      1. the foreign law firm has practised law in its own country and has not been disciplined for any violation of professional ethics or practice disciplines;

      2. the representatives of the Representative Office must be lawyers and members of the bar associations where they are qualified as lawyers, and have practised law outside China for not less than two years and must not have been penalized for criminal offences or for violations of professional ethics or practice disciplines. The chief representative must further have practised law outside China for not less than three years and shall also be a partner of the foreign law firm or hold an equivalent position; and

      3. there shall be an actual need for setting up a Representative Office to provide legal services in China.

      Article 8 If a foreign law firm wants to establish a Representative Office in China, it shall submit the following documents to the judicial administrative department of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government where the proposed Representative Office is to be established:

      1. an application letter signed by the person principally in charge of the foreign law firm to set up the Representative Office and to dispatch representatives. The proposed Representative Office shall be named "XX Law Firm (Chinese translation) XX (name of Chinese city) Representative Office";

      2. documents evidencing that the foreign law firm has been lawfully established in its own country;

      3. a partnership agreement or Articles of Association of the foreign law firm and a list of responsible persons and partners;

      4. authorizations from the foreign law firm to each of the proposed representatives of the Representative Office and the Confirmation Letter indicating that the proposed chief representative is a partner of, or holds an equivalent position in, the foreign law firm;

      5. documents evidencing the qualifications of the proposed representatives to practise law, and evidencing tha

    t the proposed chief representative has practised law outside China for not less than three years and that the other proposed representatives have practised law outside China for not less than two years;

      6. documents from the bar association in the country where the foreign law firm is established confirming the membership of each of the proposed representatives; and

      7. documents from the judicial administrative institution in the country of the foreign law firm confirming that the foreign law firm and the proposed representative(s) have not been penalized for criminal offences or violations of professional ethics or practice disciplines.

      The documents listed above shall be notarized by the notary office or notary in the applicant's home country and certified by the foreign affairs authority or an organization authorized by the foreign affairs authority of the applicant's country, and shall further be certified by the embassy or consulate of China in the applicant's home country.

      Foreign law firms shall submit the documents in triplicate with Chinese translations attached for any document that is written in a foreign language.

      Article 9 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 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 licence shall be issued to the Representative Office and practising certificates shall be issued to its representatives. Where an application is not approved, reasons shall be given in writing.

      Article 10 A Representative Office and its representatives shall take its practice licence and practising certificates to undergo the registration procedures with the judicial administrative department of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government where the Representative Office is located. A Representative Office cannot provide the legal services set out in these Regulations before the registration formalities are completed. Registration of Representative Offices and their representatives shall be renewed every year.

      Judicial administrative authorities of the people's government of provinces, autonomous regions or municipalities directly under the central government shall, within two days from the receipt of the application for registration, complete the formalities of the registration.

      Article 11 Representative Offices shall undergo the relevant formalities with respect to taxation, banking, foreign exchange, etc. in accordance with the relevant laws and administrative regulations.

      Article 12 If a Representative Office of a foreign law firm wants to change the name of the office or reduce the number of representatives it shall, prior to making such change, submit an application letter signed by the principal person in charge and the other relevant documents to the judicial administrative department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government, which shall be forwarded to the judicial administrative department of the State Council for approval. Once approved, the practising certificates of the persons who are no longer representatives of the office shall be withdrawn.

      Where a Representative Office is merged, split or a new representative is appointed, it shall go through the approval procedure in accordance with the stipulations of these Regulations on the procedure to set up a Representative Office.

      Article 13 Where a representative of a Representative Office is in any of th

    e following circumstances, the judicial administrative department of the State Council shall revoke his practice permit and withdraw his practising certificate; and the judicial administrative department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government shall cancel his practising registration accordingly:

      1. his practising licence from his own country has become invalid;

      2. his representative status is cancelled by the foreign law firm; or

      3. his practising certificate or practice licence of the Representative Office is suspended according to law.

      Article 14 Where a Representative Office is in any of the following circumstances, the judicial administrative department of the State Council shall revoke its practice permit and withdraw its practising licence; and the relevant judicial administrative department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government shall cancel its practising registration accordingly:

      1. the foreign firm that it belongs to is dissolved or its registration is cancelled;

      2. the foreign firm that it belongs to applies to cancel the Representative Office;

      3. the foreign firm that it belongs to no longer meets the requirements set out in Article 7 of these Regulations; or

      4. the practice licence of the foreign law firm that it belongs to is cancelled according to law.

      A Representative Office that falls within the above conditions shall enter into liquidation procedures according to law; and before the procedures are completed, its property shall not be transferred out of China.

      PART THREE SCOPE AND RULES OF BUSINESS

      Article 15 A Representative Off

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