Political Embeddedness and its Impact on Chinese Lawyers’ Practices in Criminal Defense Cases

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Based on survey data of 348 lawyers in Fujian, this study empirically tests how lawyers' political embeddedness (i.e., lawyers' bureaucratic, instrumental, and/or affective ties to the courts and prosecutors) has impacted upon their defense practices in criminal trials and their pursuit of liberal values. Our data reveal that politically embedded lawyers report more (not fewer) difficulties in practice (e.g., in requesting witness testimony in court, requesting new evidence, and requesting new evaluations and investigations of the case). Clients are more satisfied with representation by politically non-embedded lawyers than lawyers who are embedded. Using statistical evidence, this paper analyzes potential reasons and draws out the implications. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Clients' satisfaction; Criminal defense in China; Empirical evaluation of defense work; Legal representation; Political embeddedness

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