Is Chinese lawyer a must for court representation in China?
When foreign companies hire a lawyer for a court case in China, do they have to hire a Chinese lawyer?
As per Article 270 of Civil Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China (2021 Amendment), Foreigners, stateless persons, foreign enterprises and organizations that need a lawyer to represent in litigation when they bring a suit or respond to an action in a court in China, they can only hire a Chinese lawyer. Foreign lawyers are not allowed to participate the lawsuit as a lawyer.
There is a misunderstanding that when filing or responding to a lawsuit in China by a foreigners or foreign entity, they can only hire Chinese lawyers instead of foreigners. In fact, apart from Chinese lawyers, close relatives, citizens recommended by the community, the employer or any other social organization，and the employee of a foreigners or foreign entity, can act as an authorized representative in a lawsuit. Which means, a foreign lawyer is able to represent in court as long as he/she does not participate as a lawyer. However, due to the cultural difference and language barriers, usually only Chinese lawyers are engaged by foreign clients, which is always recommended the right way.
With the globalization of trade and passage of modern new laws and reforms, the demand for modern legal services has increased. As the rule of law expands, law firms are playing an increasingly important rule in assisting people and businesses comply with legal requirements. Legal representation, including the court representation plays a very important role in the legal practice of China, besides the disputes resolution, there are thousands of non-litigate legal service demands, which makes the legal service industry prosperous with fierce competition.