Major measures outlined in the Guideline on Developing the Foreign-Related Legal Service Industry

Updated: 2019-06-25

The Guideline on Developing the Foreign-Related Legal Service Industry lists the following six measures:

1. To improve the supporting policies to guarantee the development of the foreign-related legal service industry. The foreign-related legal service industry will be included in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) service industry development plan, and be incorporated into the major national development strategies, including the Belt and Road Initiative and the construction of free trade zones. There will be more innovation in foreign-related legal personnel training mechanisms and educational methods, as well as improvement in the continuing education system for foreign-related laws. In addition, relevant tax policies will be implemented to support the development of the foreign-related legal service industry.

2. To further build foreign-related legal service agencies. Efforts will be made to cultivate agencies that are internationally competitive in business areas and service capabilities. Domestic law firms will get relevant support to set up their practicing institutions in major economies by establishing branches abroad, and undertaking overseas mergers and acquisitions and joint operations.

3. To develop foreign-related legal service human resources. Both public lawyers and corporate lawyers should be able to join in the foreign-related legal service industry; and a training plan will be carried out to develop leading foreign-related lawyers, reserving talents for foreign-related legal service industry development. The introduction of top-grade talents in that area will be included in the national key talent projects; in the meantime, an overseas training mechanism for them will be established.

4. To diversify the ways of foreign-related legal services. The foreign-related legal service industry needs to explore new ways of service under the background of globalization and information, like providing legal services both online and offline. Providers of foreign-related legal services and other services such as accounting, finance, insurance, and securities are encouraged to conduct professional cooperation in various forms.

5. To enhance the quality of foreign-related legal services. Foreign-related legal services need to have better norms and professional ethics to standardize the behaviors and management of lawyers in the industry. There will be a strengthened quality supervision mechanism for foreign-related notarization as well as a reporting system for foreign-related judicial appraisal issues.

6. To push forward the opening of the legal service industry. With standards and norms, domestic law firms are supported to conduct business cooperation with their overseas counterparts through business alliances or other ways. The mechanism of domestic law firms hiring foreign lawyers to serve as legal counsel will be explored. In addition, the legal service industry will deepen foreign cooperation, participating in the business exchange activities held by relevant international organizations. The Chinese mainland will implement its opening measures for Hong Kong and Macao under the framework of Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) and its supplementary agreements.