On October 8, 2018, the Government issued Decree No. 137/2018/ND-CP amending and supplementing a number of articles of Decree No. 123/2013/ND-CP dated October 14, 2013 detailing a number of articles and measures to implement the Law on Lawyers 2012 (as amended) (“Law on Lawyers”)

Accordingly, Decree No. 137/2018 / ND-CP (“Decree 137”) supplemented 5 articles, amended 6 articles and abrogated Article 43 of Decree 123/2013/ND-CP (“Decree 123”). Decree 137 takes effect from November 25, 2018. Notable new regulations which have been amended and supplemented are, as follows:

1. Article 2 (a) on persons who do not meet the criteria for complying with the Constitution and laws; those who do not qualify for ethical reasons (as stipulated in Article 10 of the Law on Lawyers)

In this completely new regulation, Decree 137 specifies the following four cases which are considered to be in breach of the Constitution and laws and are not sufficiently up to moral standards under the law:

  • Having been disciplined according to the legal provisions on officials, public servants and employees whose disciplinary decisions have not yet ceased to be effective;
  • Having been disciplined through forced dismissal, although 3 years has not yet expired from the effective date of the dismissal decision;
  • Having been administratively sanctioned for one of the violations in the field of judicial support or legal aid, although 1 year has not yet expired from the final decision date on administrative handling;
  • Having been administratively handled or disciplined or subject to criminal handling or conclusions by competent authorities regarding one of the following acts:
    • Appropriating property, profiteering, cheating, fraud, infringement of national security, etc.
    • Performing acts or speech that affects the image or prestige of the legal profession or causing damage to the legitimate rights and interests of agencies, organizations or individuals;
    • Engaging, manipulating, inciting, bribing or coercing other people to disturb public order, violating the law or the Law on Lawyers (especially Article 9, Clause 1, Item (b), (d), (e), (g), (i) or (k));
    • Committing other intentional violations of law and being subject to any disciplinary action at least twice.

2. Article 2 (b) on the exemption from lawyer’s training, exemption or reduction of duration of lawyer apprenticeship

Under the current Law on Lawyers, the subjects listed in Articles 13 and 16 shall be exempted from lawyer’s training, exempted or the duration of lawyer apprenticeship reduced. Article 2 (b) of Decree 137 also regulates these cases. However, in Article 2 (b) Clause 2, the list of cases not exempt from lawyer training and the duration of lawyer apprenticeship are clearly regulated as follows:

  • Having been criminally handled or disciplined leading to dismissal from the titles of judges, procurators, investigators, inspectors and verifiers;
  • Having been deprived of the titles of the People’s Public Security Forces, the ranks of the People’s Army officers;
  • Having been deprived of academic titles, professor, associate professor of law, doctor of law;
  • Having been withdrawn from the decision of the appointment of a senior specialist, a senior researcher, a senior lecturer, a principal expert, a principal researcher and a lecturer in the field of law.

3. Article 17 regulating on cases of revoking the operation registration certificate (“ORC”) of law-practicing organization and branch of the law-practicing organization (“LPO”) or law-practicing registration certificate of an individual:

The amended Article 17 provides for the withdrawal of the ORC of a branch of LPO and a law-practicing registration certificate of an individual.

Specifically, the branch of LPO shall have its ORC withdrawn in the following cases:

  • Pursuant to Article 17, Clause 1 of Decree 137;
  • A LPO establishing the branch decides to terminate the operation of the branch;
  • A branch of LPO in one of the cases specified at Article 17, Clause 1, Items (b), (c), (d) or (e) of Decree 137.
  • A law-practicing registration certificate of an individual shall be withdrawn in the following cases:
  • Self-terminating practice;
  • Having the law-practicing registration certificate withdrawn according to Article 18, Clause 1 of the Law on Lawyers.

4. Amending and supplementing a number of articles regarding the organization and management of bar associations and the bar association

Decree 137 supplements regulations on co-ordination to formulate the project of general meetings, extraordinary meetings, the plan to elect the National Council of Lawyers’ commissioners, the member of the Standing Committee, the President of the Vietnam Bar Federation, dismissing a member of the National Bar Association and the President of the Vietnam Bar Federation and dismissing a member of the Management Board and the Manager of the Bar Association.


This LBN newsletter are NOT legal advice. Readers are advised to retain a qualified lawyer, should they wish to seek legal advice. VCI Legal are certainly among those and happy to be retained, yet VCI Legal is not to be hold responsible should any reader choose to interpret/apply the regulations after reading this LBN without engaging a qualified lawyer.