Decree No. 65/2003/ND-CP of June 11, 2003, on legal consultancy organization and activities

THE GOVERNMENT
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SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM
Independence – Freedom – Happiness
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No: 65/2003/ND-CP

Hanoi, June 11, 2003

DECREE

ON LEGAL CONSULTANCY ORGANIZATION AND ACTIVITIES

THE GOVERNMENT

Pursuant to the Law on Organization of the Government of December 25, 2001;
In order to contribute to satisfying the great and diversified demand of individuals and organizations for legal consultancy, raising the legal awareness of citizens and helping them behave in compliance with law in daily-life relations; and to enhance the State management over legal consultancy activities;
At the proposal of the Justice Minister,

DECREES:

Chapter I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1.- Subjects and scope of regulation

This Decree prescribes legal consultancy organization and activities of the social nature and for non-profit purposes, conducted by socio-political organizations and socio-professional organizations.

Legal consultancy activities of lawyers under the provisions of the Lawyer Ordinance and of the State legal assistance centers shall not be governed by this Decree.

Article 2.- Organization forms and scope of legal consultancy activities

Socio-political organizations and socio-professional organizations which fully meet the conditions prescribed in this Decree shall be permitted to establish legal consultancy centers according to the provisions of this Decree to provide free-of-charge legal consultancy to their organizations’ members.

The State encourages legal consultancy centers to provide free-of-charge legal consultancy to the poor and the preferential policy beneficiaries according to the provisions of law.

Apart from activities of providing free-of-charge legal consultancy to the subjects defined in this Decree, the legal consultancy centers are allowed to collect service charges from other subjects to finance their activities according to the provisions of this Decree.

Article 3.- Management of legal consultancy activities

The management of legal consultancy activities according to the provisions of this Decree shall be effected on the principle of combining the State management with the promotion of the self-governance of socio-political organizations and socio-professional organizations in order to ensure that legal consultancy activities are compliant with the provisions of this Decree.

Chapter II

LEGAL CONSULTANCY CENTERS

Article 4.- Conditions for establishing legal consultancy centers

1. Socio-political organizations and socio-professional organizations which wish to establish legal consultancy centers must satisfy all the following conditions:

a/ Having at least 3 legal consultants who fully meet the conditions prescribed in Clause 1, Article 13 of this Decree;

b/ Having such legal consultancy centers’ own locations for conducting transactions and working.

2. Socio-political organizations and socio-professional organizations (hereinafter called managing organizations for short) at the provincial level or the central level shall issue decisions to set up legal consultancy centers. Decisions on establishing legal consultancy centers shall be signed by the heads of the managing organizations and have the following principal contents:

a/ Name of the legal consultancy center;

b/ Objectives and tasks of the legal consultancy center;

c/ Legal consultancy domains;

d/ Financial regime(s) applicable to the legal consultancy center.

3. The names of legal consultancy centers must clearly reflect the names of their managing organizations. In cases where a managing organization establishes two legal consultancy centers or more, the names of such centers must be distinguishable from each other.

Article 5.- Organizational structure of legal consultancy centers

1. A legal consultancy center has its director, legal consultants and other staff members. The organizational structures of legal consultancy centers shall be decided by their managing organizations.

Legal consultancy centers may use legal consultancy collaborators.

2. Legal consultancy centers have their own seals for use in transactions.

The carving and use of seals of legal consultancy centers shall comply with the current law provisions on management and use of seals.

3. Legal consultancy centers are allowed to set up their branches within the provinces or centrally-run cities where their managing organizations are headquartered. Legal consultancy centers shall be responsible for the operations of their branches.

Article 6.- Registration of operation of legal consultancy centers

1. Legal consultancy centers shall register their operation with the Justice Services of the provinces or centrally-run cities where their managing organizations are headquartered (hereinafter referred to as the provincial/municipal Justice Services).

An operation registration dossier comprises:

a/ An application for operation registration;

b/ The managing organization’s decision on establishment of the legal consultancy center;

c/ The legal consultancy center’s charter promulgated by its managing organization;

d/ The managing organization’s decision on appointment of the director of the legal consultancy center;

e/ A tentative list of legal consultants, enclosed with copies of their law bachelor degrees, certificates of training in legal consultancy skills, written certifications of the listed legal consultants’ working periods in the legal domain;

f/ Written certification of the legal consultancy center’s working location;

g/ The charge table set by the managing organization according to Article 10 of this Decree.

2. Within 7 days after receiving the complete and valid dossiers, the provincial/municipal Justice Services shall have to grant operation registration papers to the applying legal consultancy centers. In case of refusal to grant operation registration papers, they must notify the reasons therefor in writing to the applicants.

3. When granting operation registration papers to legal consultancy centers, the provincial/municipal Justice Services shall concurrently grant legal consultant certificates to persons who fully meet the conditions prescribed in Clause 1, Article 13 of this Decree.

The lists of legal consultants of legal consultancy centers must be posted up at such centers’ head offices.

The Justice Ministry shall prescribe the forms of operation registration papers and legal consultant certificates.

4. Legal consultancy centers shall commence their operation as from the date they are granted operation registration papers.

Article 7.- Operation scope of legal consultancy centers

1. The scope of legal consultancy covers the following jobs:

a/ Providing guidance on legal matters and answers to legal questions;

b/ Giving consultations on compilation of applications, testaments and other papers;

c/ Giving consultations on compilation of contracts valued at VND 100,000,000 or less;

d/ Supplying legal documents and information.

Jobs defined in this Clause must be performed by legal consultants and legal consultancy collaborators of legal consultancy centers.

2. Legal consultancy centers must not undertake to plead for or defend the legitimate rights and interests of defendants, accused and other involved parties before the legal proceeding agencies.

Article 8.- Rights and obligations of legal consultancy centers

1. Legal consultancy centers have the following rights:

a/ To provide legal consultancy within the scope prescribed in Article 7 of this Decree;

b/ To request the concerned agencies and organizations to supply information on matters related to the legitimate rights and interests of individuals and organizations that resort to the centers’ consultancy;

c/ To make petitions on matters related to the legitimate rights and interests of their members to the concerned State agencies;

d/ To receive financial aid of individuals and organizations at home and abroad in support of their free-of-charge legal consultancy activities according to provisions of law.

2. Legal consultancy centers have the following obligations:

a/ To comply with the provisions of this Decree and relevant legal documents;

b/ To take responsibility for the legal consultancy performed by their legal consultants and legal consultancy collaborators;

c/ To report biannually and annually to the Justice Services of the localities where they are headquartered on their organization and operation; and to report such to their managing organizations according to the latter’s regulations.

Article 9.- Free-of-charge legal consultancy

Legal consultancy centers shall provide free-of-charge legal consultancy to the following subjects:

1. Members of their managing organizations;

2. The poor and policy beneficiaries who enjoy free-of-charge legal assistance according to the legislation on legal assistance.

Article 10.- Charged legal consultancy

1. Legal consultancy centers may provide legal consultancy services for charges collected from individuals and organizations other than the subjects prescribed in Article 9 of this Decree to cover expenses necessary for their operation.

2. Expenses necessary for the operation of legal consultancy centers include:

a/ Expenses for procurement of facilities, equipment, stationery and documents necessary for legal consultancy activities;

b/ Remunerations or allowances for their directors, legal consultants, legal consultancy collaborators and other staff members;

c/ Other reasonable expenses for the provision of legal consultancy.

3. The maximum charge rates are prescribed below:

a/ For verbal legal guidance and answers to legal questions, supply of legal information and/or documents: VND 50,000/case;

b/ For written legal guidance and answers to legal questions: VND 100,000/case;

c/ For consultations on compilation of applications, testaments and other papers: VND 100,000/case;

d/ For consultations on compilation of contracts: VND 200,000/case.

When market prices fluctuate by 10 or more, the Justice Ministry shall, together with the Finance Ministry, guide the readjustment of the ceiling rates prescribed in this Clause.

4. Basing themselves on the provisions in Clause 3 of this Article, the managing organizations shall draw up charge tables applicable to legal consultancy centers they have established. Charge tables must be posted up at the head offices of legal consultancy centers.

5. Legal consultancy centers shall have to open books for monitoring their revenues and expenditures according to the provisions of law; and submit to the inspection and supervision by their managing agencies and the competent State agencies.

Article 11.- Changes in registered operation contents

1. The changes of working locations, directors, lists of legal consultants and/or locations of branches of legal consultancy centers must be notified in writing to the provincial/municipal Justice Services where the centers have registered their operation.

2. For case of addition of legal consultants, legal consultancy centers must make written requests for granting of legal consultant certificates enclosed with copies of law bachelor degrees, certificates of training in legal consultancy skills and written certifications of to be-grantees’ working periods in the legal domain.

Article 12.- Termination of operation

1. Legal consultancy centers shall terminate their operation in the following cases:

a/ Under decisions of their managing organizations;

b/ Their operation registration papers are withdrawn.

2. In case of operation termination under the managing organizations’ decisions, the legal consultancy centers shall, within 7 days after the decisions on operation termination are issued, have to send written notices enclosed with such decisions to the provincial/municipal Justice Services where the centers have registered their operation.

Chapter III

LEGAL CONSULTANTS

Article 13.- Conditions for being granted legal consultant certificates

1. Vietnamese citizens permanently residing in Vietnam and fully satisfying the following conditions shall be granted legal consultant certificates:

a/ Having law bachelor degrees and having worked in the legal domain for three years or more;

b/ Having been trained in legal consultancy skills;

c/ Having good virtues and ethics; being not currently examined for penal liability or having been sentenced but not yet had their criminal records wiped off;

d/ Having the full civil act capacity.

2. Officials and public employees currently working in the State agencies shall not be granted legal consultant certificates.

3. A legal consultant shall only be allowed to work for one legal consultancy center.

Article 14.- Rights and obligations of legal consultants

1. When providing legal consultancy, legal consultants have the following rights:

a/ To provide legal consultations within the operation scope of their legal consultancy centers;

b/ To be trained in legal consultancy skills;

c/ To enjoy allowances or remunerations provided for by their managing organizations.

2. Legal consultants are obliged to provide legal consultations in an honest and objective manner; abide by the regulations of their managing organizations and the provisions of law; and are responsible for the consultations they provide.

Article 15.- Prohibitions for legal consultants

When providing legal consultancy, legal consultants must not:

1. Instigate involved parties to lodge complaints or denunciations or initiate lawsuits without grounds;

2. Abuse the names of the legal consultancy centers or their capacity as legal consultants to seek for personal benefits or to conduct activities in contravention of law and social morality;

3. Personally receive legal consultancy charges from organizations and/or individuals that resort to the legal consultancy centers’ consultancy;

4. Disclose information on cases, individuals or organizations that resort to consultancy which they know in the course of providing legal consultancy, except for cases where such individuals or organiza-tions so agree or the law otherwise provides for.

Article 16.- Legal consultancy collaborators

1. Legal consultancy collaborators must fully satisfy the conditions prescribed at Points a, c and d, Clause 1, Article 13 of this Decree. Persons without law bachelor degrees but having personally worked in the legal domain for 10 years or more may be legal consultancy collaborators.

Officials and public employees may act as legal consultancy collaborators of legal consultancy centers in cases where such collaboration is not contrary to the legislation on officials and public employees.

The list of legal consultancy collaborators of legal consultancy centers must be posted up at the centers’ head offices.

2. Legal consultancy collaborators shall provide legal consultancy under collaboration contracts signed between legal consultancy centers and legal consultancy collaborators.

The rights, obligations and responsibilities of legal consultancy collaborators are stated in collaboration contracts.

The prohibitions for legal consultants prescribed in Article 15 of this Decree shall also apply to legal consultancy collaborators.

3. Legal consultancy centers shall be responsible for the use of legal consultancy collaborators.

Chapter IV

MANAGEMENT OF LEGAL CONSULTANCY ACTIVITIES

Article 17.- State management over legal consultancy activities

1. The Justice Ministry shall perform the State management over legal consultancy activities, having the following tasks and powers:

a/ To compile and submit to competent agencies for promulgation legal documents on legal consultancy activities, and guide the implementation thereof;

b/ To work out programs on training legal consultancy skills as mentioned at Point b, Clause 1, Article 13 of this Decree;

c/ To examine and inspect the organization and operation of legal consultancy centers in cases of settling complaints and/or denunciations according to its competence or other necessary cases at requests of the People’s Committees of the provinces and centrally-run cities;

d/ To take measures to support the professional fostering of legal consultants and legal consultancy collaborators at requests of their managing organizations.

2. The People’s Committees of the provinces and centrally-run cities shall perform the State management over legal consultancy activities within their respective localities, having the following tasks and powers:

a/ To examine and inspect the organization and operation of legal consultancy centers according to their competence, and handle violations related thereto;

b/ To settle complaints and denunciations about the organization and operation of legal consultancy centers;

c/ Other tasks and powers provided for by law.

3. The provincial/municipal Justice Services assist the People’s Committees of the provinces and centrally-run cities in performing the contents of the State management over legal consultancy activities, prescribed in Clause 2 of this Article and have the following tasks and powers:

a/ To organize the legal consultancy skill fostering prescribed at Point b, Clause 1, Article 13 of this Decree;

b/ To grant and withdraw operation registration papers of legal consultancy centers;

c/ To grant and withdraw certificates of legal consultants;

d/ To assist the managing organizations of the same level in the professional fostering of legal consultants;

e/ To report biannually and annually to the People’s Committees of the provinces and centrally-run cities and the Justice Ministry on the organization and operation of legal consultancy centers within their respective localities.

Article 18.- Responsibilities of managing organiza-tions for the management of legal consultancy activities

1. Managing organizations shall bear responsibility for organization and operation of legal consultancy centers they establish and have the following tasks and powers:

a/ To decide on establishment or dissolution of legal consultancy centers;

b/ To promulgate and inspect the implementation of charters of legal consultancy centers; to handle violations according to their charters;

c/ To organize professional fostering for legal consultants and legal consultancy collaborators;

d/ To perform and exercise other tasks and powers as provided for by their charters.

2. Managing organizations shall biannually and annually report in writing to the justice agencies of the same level on the organization and operation of legal consultancy centers they establish.

Chapter V

COMMENDATION, HANDLING OF VIOLATIONS

Article 19.- Commendation

Legal consultancy centers, legal consultants and legal consultancy collaborators that record achievements in legal consultancy activities shall be commended and/or rewarded according to regulations of the State and their managing organizations.

Article 20.- Handling of violations of legal consultancy centers

Legal consultancy centers which violate the provisions of this Decree shall, depending on the nature and seriousness of their violations, be administratively sanctioned in the following forms:

1. Caution or a fine of between VND 1,000,000 and 5,000,000 for one of the following acts:

a/ Providing legal consultancy before being granted operation registration papers;

b/ Providing legal consultancy beyond the operation scope prescribed in this Decree;

c/ Failing to post up the list of legal consultants and legal consultancy collaborators at the centers’ head offices;

d/ Employing persons who are neither legal consultants nor legal consultancy collaborators to provide legal consultancy;

e/ Failing to post up legal consultancy charge tables at the centers’ head offices;

f/ Collecting legal consultancy charges in contravention of the provisions in Article 10 of this Decree;

g/ Violating other provisions of this Decree.

2. Withdrawal of operation registration papers for a definite or indefinite time in case of repeated violations or violations involving aggravating circumstances.

In cases where violations cause damage, compensations therefor must be made according to the provisions of law.

Article 21.- Handling of violations committed by legal consultants or legal consultancy collaborators

1. Legal consultants or legal consultancy collaborators who commit one of the following acts of violation shall, depending on the nature and seriousness of their violations, be administratively sanctioned in forms of caution or fine of between VND 200,000 and 1,000,000:

a/ Deliberately providing legal consultancy in contravention of law;

b/ Demanding surcharges or other material benefits in addition to charge amounts already collected by legal consultancy centers;

c/ Abusing the names of the legal consultancy centers or their capacity as legal consultants or legal consultancy collaborators to provide legal consultancy in pursuit of personal benefits or to conduct other activities in contravention of law.

2. Apart from the sanctioning forms prescribed in Clause 1 of this Article, violators may have their certificates of legal consultants withdrawn or have their names deleted from the lists of legal consultancy collaborators; if damage is caused, compensations therefor must be made according to the provisions of law.

Article 22.- Competence to handle violations

1. The presidents of the People’s Committees of the provinces and centrally-run cities may:

a/ Give cautions;

b/ Impose fines of up to the maximum level prescribed in this Decree.

2. Specialized chief inspectors of the provincial/municipal Justice Services may:

a/ Give cautions;

b/ Impose fines of up to VND 2,000,000;

c/ Withdraw operation registration papers of legal consultancy centers or certificates of legal consultants; or delete names of violators from the lists of legal consultancy collaborators.

Article 23.- Procedures for handling violations

The procedures for handling administrative violations committed by legal consultancy centers, legal consultants and/or legal consultancy collaborators shall comply with the provisions of the legislation on handling of administrative violations.

Chapter VI

IMPLEMENTATION PROVISIONS

Article 24.- Transitional provisions

1. Within 6 months after the effective date of this Decree, the legal consultancy organizations of socio-political organizations or socio-professional organizations, which were established and operated before the effective date of this Decree and wish to continue their operation, shall have to register their operation according to the provisions of this Decree. Past that time limit, if they fail to do so, they must terminate their operation.

2. Persons, who have been recognized as legal consultants for 5 years or more and are currently working as legal consultants of legal consultancy offices or legal consultancy centers of Vietnam Lawyers’ Association, Vietnam Labor Confederation, Vietnam Women’s Union or other socio-political organizations at the time this Decree takes effect, shall now be recognized as legal consultants under the provisions of this Decree.

Article 25.- Implementation effect

This Decree takes effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.

The Prime Minister’s Directive No. 620/CT-TTg of September 29, 1995 on enhancing the management of legal consultancy activities and the Justice Ministry’s Circular No. 1119/TTQLTPK of December 24, 1987 on legal services shall cease to be effective as from the effective date of this Decree.

Article 26.- Implementation guidance

1. The Justice Ministry shall have to guide the implementation of this Decree.

2. The ministers, the heads of the ministerial-level agencies, the heads of the agencies attached to the Government and the presidents of the People’s Committees of the provinces or centrally-run cities shall have to implement this Decree.

 

 

ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT
PRIME MINISTER

Phan Van Khai

 

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