Sapporo Bar Association


Outline of Bar Associations

  • Outline of Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA)
    Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) is an organization established in 1949 under Article 45-50 of the Attorney Act. Sapporo Bar Association also belongs to JFBA. For more information, visit the website of JFBA (
  • Outline of Sapporo Bar Association
    Sapporo Bar Association, established in 1893 and reached its present form in 1949, is one of four bar associations in Hokkaido. As of June 2022, Sapporo Bar Association has approximately 800 lawyers, with Sapporo headquarters and branches in Iwamizawa, Otaru, Takikawa, Tomakomai, and Muroran.
  • Activities of Sapporo Bar Association
  1. Legal Consultation Service
    Sapporo Bar Association provides legal consultations at legal consultation centers, City Hall, and ward offices. Most consultations are free of charge. The association also provides legal consultations commissioned by JFBA and counseling services making rounds to local cities.
  2. Activities to Protect Human Rights
    Sapporo Bar Association has various committees responsible for activities to protect human rights. For example, the Human Rights Protection Committee conducts investigations against organizations that infringe human rights. And consequently, it issues warnings, advisories, and requests as needed. We also have a variety of committees to address specific issues, including protecting the human rights of children, respecting gender equality and diversity, protecting consumers, fulfilling the rights of the elderly and disabled, supporting victims of crime.
  3. International Exchange with Legal Professionals in Other Countries
    Sapporo Bar Association has concluded an exchange agreement with Northern Gyeonggi Bar Association in South Korea, making a reciprocal visit every other year. In addition, we accept visits from bar associations and courts in other countries for research, study, and exchange. Similarly, Sapporo Bar Association sends delegations to foreign countries for interactions and information exchange.
  4. Legal Education & Awareness-raising Activities
    Sapporo Bar Association dispatches lawyers as faculty members to law schools for supporting their education. Also, we provide law students with legal education by offering on-site classes, holding mock trials, providing opportunities to learn about the practice of lawyers.
    We also hold lectures for the general public on crucial legal knowledge and publish columns in newspapers to raise awareness about the law.
  5. Expressing Opinions on the Bills and Other
    As an organization of legal professionals, Sapporo Bar Association analyzes and examines new bills and law amendments and, uniquely or through JFBA, suggests our opinions and proposals.

Legal Consultation Center

Please feel free to contact our legal consultation center!

The legal consultation center of Sapporo Bar Association provides legal consultation by lawyers free of charge.

  • What kind of consultation is available?
    In daily life and work, we encounter various conflicts and difficulties. Legal consultation centers accept any kind of consultation, including money lending and borrowing, divorce, inheritance, employment, and traffic accidents. Also, legal issues related to the daily lives of foreigners, including problems related to a status of residence and nationality, are available.
  • What will happen after the consultation?
    Consulting with a lawyer may help you find a solution to your problem. We can also act as your counsel in court proceedings with your appointment.
  • Does not it cost?
    A consultation is free.
    However, there is a charge when you appoint the lawyer you consulted as a representative attorney.
  • How to apply for a consultation? (For those who speak Japanese)
    Reservations are required.
    You can apply for a consultation by calling the legal consultation center close to your residence (the link is only in Japanese). In addition, the online application of Himawari Sodan Net is also available (the link is only in Japanese).
    You need to come to the legal consultation center on the date and time you have reserved. Then, depending on the kind of consultation, you may go to the law office of the lawyer in charge.
    Currently, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we may ask for a telephone consultation.
  • How to apply for a consultation? (For those who do not speak Japanese)
    Please contact the “Sapporo Help Desk for Foreign Residents” operated by Sapporo City. You can make a reservation for a legal consultation using the “Specific-Fields Lawyer Referral Service” described below.

Sapporo Help Desk for Foreign Residents
Office Hours: Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(Excluding national holidays and year-end and New Year holidays)
TEL: 011-211-3678
Inquiry Form:

  • Are there any lawyers who handle cases involving foreign nationals?
    Sapporo Bar Association has the “Specific-Fields Lawyer Referral Service,” introducing attorneys who actively handle 12 highly specialized fields. The referral lawyers have registered themselves in “cases involving foreign nationals” out of 12 specific fields. In addition, they have been actively addressing general legal issues,including the status of residence, nationality, and the daily lives of foreigners. In principle, the lawyers provide consultations in Japanese, but lawyers with foreign language skills may be available.

    Please be aware of the following conditions in advance:
  1. The time per consultation is 60 minutes, and the fee is free.
  2. The application procedure is the same as general legal consultations. Additionally, you need to tell us that you want to use the “Specific-Fields Lawyer Referral Service for cases involving foreign nationals.”
  3. The referral attorney conducts consultation in the lawyer’s office; therefore, you need to go there.
  4. You directly meet the lawyer in consultation. Consultation by telephone is not available.
  5. The consultation date will be within one week from your application as the standard. However, be aware that it is impossible to consult with lawyers immediately after the application.
  6. You can use this system on the same issue of consultation up to 3 times.
  7. You are limited to using the service of the legal consultation center up to 5 times per year, including consultations for other matters.
  8. To check the frequency of your application, “Sapporo Help Desk for Foreign Residents” will keep your name and other information for one year if booked through there.
  9. This service does not guarantee the competence of referral lawyers concerning “cases involving foreign nationals.”
  10. This service does not cover criminal cases. Please read the “Duty Attorney System” in criminal defense.
  • Does the referral lawyer certainly accept my request?
    A legal consultation provides advice from a lawyer on dealing with your problem.
    Whether you retain a lawyer concerning your case is your decision. We do not guarantee that the referral lawyer is sure to accept your appointment.

Duty Attorney System in Criminal Cases

We offer Duty Attorney System!

If you, your family, or your friend is under arrest, many people have anxiety that: “I do not know any lawyers…”; “I do not understand the Japanese language and Japanese laws spoken by the police…”; or “What will happen to me after this?” On such occasions, please call for a duty attorney immediately.

  • What is the Duty Attorney System?
    Suppose you, your family, or your friend is under arrest on suspicion of being involved in some crime. In that case, upon request, only once a duty attorney comes to see the arrested person soon, hear the person’s story, and provide appropriate legal advice at no cost. The Duty Attorney System dispatches an attorney waiting at Sapporo Bar Association as a duty attorney.
  • What if I am under arrest?
    If you are under arrest, say “please call the duty attorney” to police officers, prosecutors, or judges. Then, the duty attorney will come to see you soon.
  • What if my family or my friend is under arrest?
    Even family members and friends of the arrested person can use the Duty Attorney System. So first, please call the Center for Criminal Defense of Sapporo Bar Association, apply for the Duty Attorney System, and inform us of the application items described below.
  • Could you arrange an interpreter?
    If possible, the duty attorney will bring an interpreter to the police station and talk with the person under arrest through the interpreter. In addition, the duty attorney will report the result of the consultation to the person’s family and others as needed. Sapporo Bar Association will pay for the interpretation fee in such cases. Therefore, there will be no financial burden on those under arrest and those who consulted with us. However, the duty attorney may not find an interpreter and may not take an interpreter.

Center for Criminal Defense of Sapporo Bar Association
Contact: 011-272-1010

  • Reception hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. throughout the year. After hours, the answering machine will answer your phone. Currently, the reception hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Please note that we accept an application for the Duty Attorney System only in Japanese.

Details for application items:

  • Name of applicant or calling person, phone number
  • Name of those under arrest, sex, birth date
  • Place of a police holding cell
  • Date and time under arrest, the arrested offense
  • Relationship between the applicant and those under arrest
  • Please note that in principle, we dispatch a duty attorney only once for the same case, regardless of whether the application is from a person under arrest or the person’s family and friend.
    In addition, we can respond to the consultation from worried family members; therefore, if possible, we recommend that the family applies for this system.