Decoding the Term Attorney-Client Privilege in China

Understanding Attorney-Client Privilege

The attorney-client privilege is a rule that preserves the confidentiality of communications between lawyers and clients. Under that rule, attorneys may not divulge their clients’ secrets, nor may others force them to. The privilege is asserted in the face of a legal demand for the communications, such as a discovery request or a demand that the lawyer testifies under oath.

When does Attorney-Client Privilege begin?

The attorney-client privilege generally begins when you ask a lawyer for legal advice. Note that this can be in an initial consultation, not simply when you sign a letter of engagement. The main goal of the attorney-client privilege is to take the clients into confidence so that they can tell their lawyers everything they need to know to help them with their case.

Clear Out Misconceptions Regarding Attorney-Client Privilege

Under PRC Law, there is no equivalent regime of attorney–client privilege similar to those found in a common law jurisdiction like the US. It is vital to understand that not every communication between the attorney and the client protected by the attorney client privilege. For example, if a shared information can be obtained from a non-privileged source, it is not protected by the attorney client privilege. The privilege is held by the clients and in most cases can only be waived by clients, not their attorneys. The attorney-client privilege is inconsistent with the truth-seeking function. It conceals information even when that information may be essential to determining facts.

Framing a contract while doing business in China is a tricky task. Foreign businesses need to understand the true value of attorney-client privilege in China and then proceed to sign out a permanent deal with a China business lawyer. US-style attorney-client privilege does not exist in China. Nonetheless, the combined effect of a confidentiality obligation imposed by the PRC Lawyers Law and the nonexistence of a US-style discovery means that attorney-client communication and attorney work product enjoy “privilege-like” protection to a certain degree in China.

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Why it Makes Sense to Hire PRC Lawyer

It’s easy to get into a Chinese court, but very difficult to get out once you’ve been “trapped.” A maximum number of foreign businesses do not like to pay charges to attorneys and only engages PRC lawyers at the very last moment when they are served with the summons and complaints.

The notable thing is, bearing the charges of a PRC lawyer to keep you out of the legal tussle is comparatively low and much more affordable option. Having a good attorney can provide incredible value to your business, namely in helping to protect you from legal implications.

Why Hire PRC Lawyers

  • PRC Law firms in China can be very creative when it comes to deal with various issues and offer excellent legal aid to the foreign clients.
  • PRC lawyers are domestically trained and play an invaluable part to the international business because of their remarkable experience and local knowledge.
  • Chinese speaking lawyers are better placed to draft China trademark registration, WFOE contracts and NNN agreements compared to non-Chinese speaking attorneys.
  • China trademark registration attorneys are licensed to practice law in China can give you legal advice, help you avoid pitfalls with your application, increase your likelihood of getting a registration and help you enforce your trademark rights in China.
  • Anytime you need to draft or negotiate a contract in China whether with a customer, employee, or supplier – it’s important that you have a PRC lawyer present to help with any legalities.

The infringement of intellectual property rights and other commerce-related rights such as trademark, patent or copyright and commercial secrets are quite common in China. Business owners from the U.S. and Europe need to be extra-cautious while doing business in China. A PRC attorney is the right person to rely on for all your legal aids.

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