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Nearly 2.37 Mln Chinese Receive Legal Aid in Past 5 Years

Chinese attorneys have given legal aid services to nearly 2.37 million litigants in 1.35 million cases since the country promulgated the Regulation on Legal Aid in 2003, Justice Minister Wu Aiying said on Thursday.

The number of legal aid cases reached 420,000 in 2007, triple the 2002 figure, and lawyers offered consultations to 4.07 million people last year, 3.3 times the figure in 2002, she told a legal aid symposium.

The ministry was trying to make legal aid service networks more efficient, convenient and affordable for the needy, she said.

Legal-aid spending at various government levels rose 30 percent year-on-year over the past five years and hit 520 million yuan (about US$76 million) in 2007, the ministry's figures showed.

China had 12,285 full-time legal aid personnel including 5,927 lawyers and 76,890 registered volunteers working in 3,259 legal aid organizations by the end of last year.

Legal aid organizations in China can't operate on a for-profit basis. Most of their clients are migrants, the disabled, women and minors.

The organizations' funding comes mainly from government appropriations, private donations and the free services provided by lawyers.

(Xinhua News Agency September 5, 2008)

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