An Empirical Inquiry
Chapter 11: The defence at trial observed (1)
11. The defence at trial observed (1) In this and the next chapter we report on the way in which the defence was conducted in the 227 trials involving 335 defendants that we observed. As we have already described the processing of cases in both summary and simplified ordinary procedure, the emphasis in this chapter will be upon cases tried under ordinary procedure. We begin our account by looking at cases in which the defendant did not have the benefit of legal representation before moving to those cases in which there was a lawyer appointed by the court. In the next chapter we deal with cases in which the defendant was represented by a lawyer who was privately retained. UNREPRESENTED DEFENDANTS Legal Representation in China: the Law As previously stated, the right to a fair trial is widely accepted to be a fundamental human right. Chinese law allows any individual to hire a lawyer in a criminal case, but the appointment of a lawyer is required only in limited circumstances as set out in Article 34, 1996 CPL, namely in respect of juveniles, those who are deaf, mute or blind and those charged with offences carrying the death penalty. In recognition of the need to provide legal advice at a more general level China began to develop a legal aid system from 1994.1 That system is, however, far from comprehensive and the legal service provided is of variable quality. Most criminal defendants in China are too poor to be able...
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