Legal Pros to Get Uniform Test

Candidates for the positions of judges, prosecutors and lawyers will sit a uniform national test for the legal professionals, starting in late March.

The test will be the first of its kind in China. Before, candidates for the three professions had separate qualification exams.

According to an announcement issued by the Ministry of Justice yesterday, the exam will test the candidates' knowledge of legal theory, laws and regulations as well as their ability to apply this knowledge. The test will also include professional ethics, an issue that has attracted increasing attention. The test will take two days and be held on March 30 and 31.

Candidates for the exam should be Chinese citizens with degree of at least bachelor level, according to the announcement.

This spells a major change from the past annual lawyers' qualification examination, where the minimum educational requirement was a junior college education in law.

Yesterday's announcement followed the weekend amendment of the Lawyers Law, which made it necessary to be a university graduate in order to become a lawyer.

The new test is part of China's latest efforts at judicial reform. Legal experts have hailed the test, saying it will help the nation's legal personnel become more proficient and unify understanding of the law among lawyers, judges and prosecutors.

The legal professions have started to appeal to more and more people in recent years amid China's efforts to build a country ruled by law. The lawyer's profession, in particular, has become one of the most popular because it is well-paid and prestigious with the public.

(China Daily December 31, 2001)

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