Beijing's pro bono notarial service grew significantly last year, with data showing that the service was provided 218,000 times in 2020, a more than twelvefold annual increase and quadruple the total number over the previous three years.
The growth in demand for the service was a result of the capital's guideline on the management of the pro bono notarial service, which was released in 2020. The guideline pushed the proportion of pro bono notarial services to 32 percent of all notarial services, up from 2.2 percent in 2019. Between 2017 and 2019, such service was offered 18,000 times on average annually.
Apart from traditional areas, the pro bono service also expanded to such areas as COVID-19 prevention and control, minor protection and environmental protection.
In 2020, notary offices around Beijing reduced or exempted fees in 116 disaster relief-related cases, 68 minor-related cases and 25 environmental protection cases, an increase of 800 percent, 79 percent and 19 percent, respectively.
Overall, the city's notary offices handled 685,000 cases last year, 542,000 of which were domestic ones, 139,000 of which were related to foreign parties, 1,887 were related to Hong Kong and Macao, and 1,389 were connected to Taiwan.