• Prescribed by the Taiwan Bar Association.
  • Complete text of 33 articles amended and passed by the general meeting of members' representatives on December 18, 1983.
  • Amended and passed by the 3rd general meeting of the 3rd session of members' representatives on July 29, 1995.
  • Suspension of the application of Article 18 approved by the 1st general meeting of the 4th session of members' representatives on August 11, 1996.
  • Amendment of item 5 of Article 30, and amendment of text of Article 18 and resumption of application of same passed by the 3rd general meeting of the 4th session of members' representatives on July 18, 1998.
  • Amendment of item 2 of Article 49 passed by the 2nd general meeting of the 6th session of members' representatives on September 7, 2003.
  • Amendment of Article 5 passed by the 2nd general meeting of the 7th session of members' representatives on September 23, 2006.
  • Amendment of Articles 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 41, 42, 43, 46, 48, 49 and 50, amendment of heading of Chapter 5, addition of Articles 30-1, 30-2, 38 and 47-1, and deletion of text of original Article 38 passed by the 2nd general meeting of the 8th session of members' representatives on September 19, 2009.
The mission of a lawyer is to safeguard human rights, bring about social justice, and promote democracy and the rule of law. The prescription of this Code of Ethics for Lawyers is based on the lawyers' consciousness of ethics, the realization of lawyers' self-governance and the protection of the professional dignity and honor of lawyers, and it is earnestly hoped that lawyers in the whole country will comply with this Code in unison.
Chapter I: General Provisions
Article 1
This Code is prescribed in accordance with the provision of paragraph 2 of Article 15 of the Law of Lawyers.
Article 2
When performing his/her duties, a lawyer shall comply with the law, this Code and the Articles of Association of the [relevant] bar association.
Article 3
Lawyers shall jointly uphold their professional dignity and honor.
Article 4
A lawyer shall be regardful of the freedom and independence of his/her duties.
Article 5
A lawyer shall study the laws and decrees extensively, strive to enrich his/her professional knowledge, absorb current new knowledge, enhance the quality of his/her legal services, and complete the in-service training courses each year in accordance with the Rules for In-service Training prescribed by the Taiwan Bar Association.
Article 6
A lawyer shall be prudent in his/her words and careful of his/her acts so as to conform to the savor and dignity of the legal profession.
Article 7
A lawyer shall be aware that his/duties as a lawyer are public duties, and that he/she shall look after a client's legitimate rights and interests and public interests at the same time when performing his/her duties.
Article 8
A lawyer shall perform his/her duties in line with the principle of honesty, fairness, rationality and conscience.
Article 9
A lawyer shall participate in legal aid or civilian legal services, or engage in other public welfare activities with a view to promoting universal legal services, except where he/she has been exempted from doing so in accordance with the law.
Article 10
A lawyer shall reply truthfully in response to an inquiry on ethical and discipline issues conducted by the bar association to which he/she belongs.
Article 11
A lawyer shall not be tied down by the outcome of winning or losing a lawsuit, thereby overlooking the discovery of the truth.
Chapter II: Discipline
Article 12
A lawyer may not promote business development by in the following manner:
1. Making exaggerated and untrue, or misleading promotion statements.
2. Paying remuneration to a person who makes an introduction.
3. Using judicial officials or employing sales personnel to do so.
4. Using other improper means.
Article 13
A lawyer may not accept business in a manner which violates the public order or good moral customs, or which injures the dignity and credibility of a lawyer.
Article 14
A lawyer may not seek to influence a judicial official or an arbitrator with respect to a case, indicate expressly or tacitly to a client that he/she has the connection or ability to influence a judicial official or an arbitrator in an improper manner, or engage in other acts of injuring judicial or arbitral justice.
A lawyer may not accompany a judicial official to visit an improper place which is capable of injuring the image of the judiciary or engage in other activities which are capable of injuring the image of the judiciary; nor may he/she instigate or assist a judicial official to engage in acts which violate the law, or judicial ethics and discipline.
Article 15
A law firm shall choose and employ persons having a good conduct to work for it.
The lawyer in a law firm who is responsible for the supervision and management of the firm shall assume the responsibility to provide guidance to personnel employed by the firm to abstain from engaging in unlawful or improper acts.
Article 16
A lawyer shall, upon accepting a matter, attend to the collection of evidences faithfully and investigate the ins and outs of the case. Furthermore, he/she may interrogate a witness out of litigation proceedings with respect to matters relevant to the case or to evidential effect, but he/she may not harass the witness or make improper use of the outcome of the interrogation.
A lawyer may not attempt to acquire evidences by intimidation, enticement, fraud, or other unlawful means.
A lawyer may not cause, on his/her own accord, or instigate or assist another person in causing, a witness to abstain from giving testimony before the court when summoned, or to make an untrue or incomplete statement when giving testimony before the court. Nevertheless, where there is cause for refusing to give testimony, he/she may explain to the witness the legal provisions relating to refusal to give testimony.
Article 17
Unless otherwise provided by the law, a lawyer may not, in the form of a partnership or in any other manner, assist a person who does not have the qualification of an ROC lawyer to practice the business of a lawyer.
A lawyer may not provide in any manner his/her lawyer's certificate, law office, membership emblems or certificates or signs to another person for the latter's use.
Article 18
A judicial official may not, within three years from the date of resignation, perform the duties of a lawyer in the court or the prosecutors' office where he/she had served within three years prior to his/her resignation.
Article 19
A lawyer may not engage in an act which violates this Code on the ground that he/she is acting on instruction from a client.
Chapter III: Lawyers and Judicial Agencies
Article 20
A lawyer shall assist the court in the maintenance of judicial dignity and the realization of judicial justice. Furthermore, he/she shall jointly assume the responsibility for the rule of law with the judicial agencies.
Article 21
A lawyer shall participate actively in the evaluation on judges and prosecutors conducted by the bar associations or other organizations or groups.
Article 22
A lawyer may not refuse to accept, or delay in accepting, a case of which he/she has been designated as a pleader, an agent or assistant in accordance with the law without a clarification that he/she has good reasons for not accepting the case, and he/she may not collect remuneration or fees from the client or other interested persons.
Article 23
When performing his/her duties, a lawyer may not engage in any intentional act of concealment or deception, and he/she may not fabricate or alter evidence, instigate perjury or engage in other intentional acts of obstructing the discovery of the truth.
When a lawyer finds out in the course of proceedings in a case that a certain piece of evidence is false upon reasonable determination, he/she may refuse to submit it as an exhibit, except where such evidence is a statement of an accused in a criminal case.
Article 24
A lawyer may not maliciously defame a judicial official or agency; he/she shall inform on a corrupt judicial official if he/she has evidence of the latter's corruption.
A lawyer may not, whether publicly or through the mass media, make any perfunctory statements against the conduct and integrity of a specific judicial official which suffice to injure the image of judicial dignity or justice, except where he/she has reasonable doubt about the same.
A lawyer may not, prior to a confirmed judgment on a litigation case he/she has accepted, whether publicly or through the mass media, make any statements on the said case which suffice to injure judicial justice. Nevertheless, he/she may make equitable statements within the scope of necessity for the purpose of protecting his/her client against the improper prejudice resulting from the reports or comments of the mass media.
Article 25
A lawyer shall provide assistance to a judicial agency with respect to a case which the latter has inquired about, entrusted or designated, except where he/she has good reasons for not doing so.
Chapter IV: Lawyers and Clients
Article 26
When attending to a legal matter entrusted by a client, a lawyer shall endeavor to enrich himself/herself with the legal knowledge required for accepting the said matter and make appropriate preparation. He/She shall, in accordance with the laws and decrees and lawful proceedings, exert utmost effort to safeguard the client's legitimate rights; he/she may not delay in dealing with the accepted matter without cause, and he/she shall inform the client in time of important developments in the matter.
Article 27
A lawyer shall, with regard to a matter he/she has accepted, inform the client frankly of his/her legal opinion, and he/she may not intentionally distort the interpretation of a law or decree, or provide the client with deceptive information, thereby misleading the client to entertain wrong expectations or make wrong judgment.
Article 28
A lawyer may not guarantee that there will be a favorable outcome on a matter which he/she has accepted.
Article 29
If a lawyer shall discover in the course of performing his/her duties that a settlement, cessation of litigation or admission of guilt conforms to his/her client's interests and legal justice, he/she ought to work in concert to bring it about.
Article 30
A lawyer may not accept the following matters:
1. A matter which has a conflict of interest or a substantial connection with another matter on which he/she has provided consultation in accordance with a trust relationship or a general legal counsel relationship.
2. A matter which has a conflict of interest or a substantial connection with another matter which he/she has accepted. As for a current matter which he/she has accepted, it is the same against a matter the appointment for which was already terminated by him/her and the former client.
3. Other matters the parties in which are adversaries of the client in a current matter which he/she has accepted.
4. Other matters which are commissioned by an adversary in a current matter which he/she has accepted.
5. Where he/she has previously served as a government officer or an arbitrator, [he/she may not accept] the same matter or a matter having a substantial connection with a matter which he/she had handled by virtue of his/her office.
6. A matter which is related to his/her property, business or personal interests, and is likely to have an effect on his/her independent professional judgment.
7. The same matter or a matter having a substantial connection with a matter in which the adversary's appointed lawyer is his/her spouse or a blood relative within the second degree or a relative by marriage.
8. A matter which is commissioned by several clients having a conflict of interest among themselves.
9. Other matters which are in conflict with his/her current, existing obligations to other clients, former clients, or third persons.
Where the lawyer has informed the affected client(s) and the former client(s) and has obtained a written consent from them, he/she may yet accept appointment in the aforesaid matters, except in the instance as referred to in item 5 of the preceding paragraph.
Where a matter is litigious in nature, a lawyer may not concurrently accept appointment from both parties in the same matter, or from several persons who are a party in the matter but who have a conflict of interest among themselves; the provision of the preceding paragraph is also not applicable.
Where the lawyer has served as a witness in a specific matter, he/she may not act as an agent or pleader of the said litigious matter, except where the two parties in the matter have consented to the appointment.
Where the client is an administrative agency and the conflict of interest provisions are applicable, the effect of the said administrative agency being the client shall not extend to other agencies which are public legal entities to which it belongs; it is the same in the case where the adversary is an administrative agency.
Article 30-1
A lawyer may not, without a written consent from the client, use in a manner which is detrimental to the client's interests the factual evidence or information relating to the client which he/she has acquired by reason of a matter he/she has accepted, except where the said factual evidence or information is used in accordance with the law or this Code, or where it is already in the public domain.
Article 30-2
A lawyer may not accept a legal fee paid by a third person on behalf of a client, except where he/she has informed the client of such payment and has obtained the client's consent, and also where such payment will not affect the lawyer's independent professional judgment.
Article 31
A lawyer may not, in any one of the following circumstances, accept a client's appointment and, if he/she has already been appointed, the appointment shall be terminated:
1. He/She is expressly aware that the client's purpose behind the legal actions adopted, the defenses submitted, or the assertions made in the course of litigation is merely to threaten, or maliciously injure another person.
2. He/She is expressly aware that the acceptance of the appointment, or the continued acceptance of the appointment, will violate this Code.
3. His/Her physical and mental condition makes it difficult for him/her to perform his/her duties efficiently.
When the lawyer terminates the mandate relationship with the client, he/she shall adopt reasonable steps so as to avoid injuring the client's interests, and he/she shall also refund the undue portion of the remuneration to the client.
Article 32
Where a lawyer is subject to a conflict of interest restriction in accordance with paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 30, Article 30-1, and Article 30-2, other lawyers who are in the same law firm as him/her shall also be subject to the same restriction. However, in the case of a matter as referred to in items 6, 7 or 9 of paragraph 1 of Article 30, if a lawyer who is subject to restriction did not participate in the said matter and did not receive any remuneration directly or indirectly from the said matter, then other lawyers in the same law firm with him/her shall not be subject to the same restriction.
Where a lawyer to whom the proviso in the preceding paragraph is applicable accepts an appointment, the said lawyer and the lawyer who is subject to restriction shall immediately give written notice to the affected client or the former client about the matter of compliance with the provision of the proviso in the preceding paragraph.
Article 33
A lawyer shall strictly keep confidential the contents of an accepted matter and he/she may not disclose the same without having notified the client and obtained the client's consent. Nevertheless, in one of the following circumstances, he/she may make a disclosure within the scope of necessity:
1. To prevent injury to one's life, body or health.
2. To prevent or mitigate a serious damage which may be caused to the property of another person by a client's criminal intent and plan, or accomplished criminal act.
3. Where he/she needs to make an assertion or objection in connection with a dispute arising from the mandate relationship between him/her and the client; or where he/she, in the course of handling an accepted case, becomes the defendant in a civil or criminal matter, or is being subject to disciplinary action as a result thereof.
4. Where disclosure shall be made in accordance with the law or this Code.
Article 34
A lawyer shall immediately deliver to the client any property which he/she has collected or received on behalf of the client in connection with a matter he/she has accepted, unless it is otherwise provided by the laws and decrees or a contract.
A lawyer shall, with respect to the safekeeping of an article related to a matter, immediately return it to the client after the conclusion of the matter or in accordance with the client's instruction, and he/she may not delay in returning or refuse to return it to the client without any cause.
Article 35
A lawyer shall expressly inform a client of the amount of his/her remuneration or the method of calculating his/her remuneration.
A lawyer may not enter into an agreement for contingent fee payment with a client in the case of a family matter, criminal matter, or juvenile matter.
Article 36
A lawyer may not acquire any property benefit in connection with the object of a case he/she is handling, except where he/she is exercising his/her right of retention in accordance with the law to collect payment of his/her remuneration and fees for accepting the appointment, or to collect payment of a contingent fee in accordance with this Code.
A lawyer may not directly or indirectly accept assignment of a disputed object in a litigation case which has not yet been concluded.
Article 37
Without the approval of the regulatory agency, a lawyer may not transmit or deliver any article for a criminal suspect under detention, an accused or a convict, except where it is a written pleading relating to the case he/she has accepted.
Article 38
A lawyer shall set up files for the matters he/she has accepted and safekeep the filed evidences for two years after the termination of the mandate relationship.
A lawyer shall, at a client's request, provide photocopies of the files to the client; he/she may not delay in providing or refuse to provide the same without any cause, and the required costs shall be borne by the client; except where the documents or materials are those which, in accordance with the law, may not be provided to the client.
Chapter V: Lawyers and Adversaries in a Matter and Third Parties
Article 39
When safeguarding a client's legitimate rights, a lawyer may not intentionally engage in acts of defaming, vilifying, or injuring the adversary.
Article 40
Prior to obtaining the client's authorization or consent, a lawyer may not contact and discuss an accepted matter with the adversary on his/her own accord without any cause, nor may he/she accept any remuneration or gift from the adversary.
Article 41
When a lawyer is aware on handling an accepted matter that the adversary or interested person in the matter has already appointed a lawyer, he/she shall not, without the consent of the said appointed lawyer, discuss the details of the case directly with the said other person [adversary or interested person].
Chapter VI: As between Lawyers
Article 42
Lawyers shall respect one another, accord consideration to the benefits of their colleagues, respond to the inquiry made by their colleagues or inform them of the reasons for not being able to respond to their inquiry.
Article 43
A lawyer shall not defame or vilify another lawyer, nor may he/she instigate a client to do so.
Article 44
A lawyer, on learning that there is concrete factual evidence that another lawyer has violated this Code, ought to report such violation to the bar association to which the latter belongs, except where he/she has a confidentiality obligation for not doing so.
Article 45
A lawyer may not hinder another lawyer from accepting a matter by improper means, or cause a client to terminate the appointment of another lawyer.
Article 46
Prior to commencing civil or criminal litigation proceedings against a colleague for his/her own cause, a lawyer ought to inform the bar association to which he/she belongs of his/her intention to do so. If the aforesaid proceedings relate to a civil dispute or a criminal offense for which a complaint must be filed by the victim, he/she ought to request the bar association to which he/she belongs to try having the matter mediated in the first place.
Article 47
In the event of a dispute between lawyers arising from a matter they have accepted, the lawyers shall refer the dispute to the bar association to which they belong to request for mediation.
Article 47-1
Where several lawyers have jointly accepted appointment from the same client to handle the same matter, they shall endeavor to coordinate and cooperate with one another in handling the said matter.
Article 48
Where a lawyer who is employed by a law firm resigns from the law firm, he/she shall not cause a client of the said law firm to appoint him/her as the client's new counsel; it shall be the same in the case where he/she is further employed by another law firm.
Chapter VII: Supplementary Provisions
Article 49
Where a lawyer has violated this Code, the bar association to which he/she belongs shall review the violation and take one of the following actions:
1. Counsel him/her.
2. Give him/her a warning.
3. Where the violation is a serious one, forward his/her case to the relevant agency and request for action.
Article 50
This Code shall be implemented after it has been passed by the General Meeting of the Taiwan Bar Association's members' representatives, and it shall then be reported to the Ministry of Justice for recordation; it shall be the same in the case of an amendment hereto.
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