CWR > Volume 5(1); 2019 > Article
Research Paper
Published online: March 1, 2019

Necessity or Luxury? Sober Second Thoughts on the Chinese Gideon and Legal Aid in Criminal Cases

Luye Mou
Zhejiang University Guanghua Law School
Zhijiang Road No. 51, Xihu District, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, 310008, China.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Many Chinese scholars advocate transplanting the American Gideon to improve the quality of criminal defense and legal aid in China. Nowadays, less than thirty percent of criminal defendants in China have counsels to represent them, and this has worsened since the year of 2012, because laws and policies have expanded the legal aid to more candidates, while the appropriations cannot keep pace with the explosive caseload. Institutional impediments also frustrate lawyers' efforts in providing effective representation, and there is no remedy for ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims. This paper calls for a fuller understanding of the Gideon's broken promise in the US, and argues that the forces most essential to the support of the Chinese Gideon can only come from China's practice and experience.

Keywords : Gideon v. Wainwright, Legal Aid, Right to Counsel, Effective Assistance of Counsel, Legal Transplant

View the Full Text