Thursday, July 12, 2018

Johannes Chan on the Law Society's Power to Introduce a Common Entrance Examination (HKLJ)

"The Law Society's Power to Introduce a Common Entrance Examination"
Johannes Chan
Hong Kong Law Journal
2018, Vol. 48, Part 1, pp. 1-10
Introduction: Legal education in Hong Kong can be broadly divided into three stages: (1) an academic stage involving the completion of a law degree at a university or the equivalent; (2) a vocational stage involving the study of a one-year course of Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL) at one of the law schools in Hong Kong, the course focusing on legal skills that are required for practice and aiming at preparing students for a transfer from the academic stage to legal practice; and (3) a professional stage where students will undergo a one-year pupillage with a barrister or a two-year traineeship with a solicitors firm before admission to full practice. The PCLL is a statutory qualification to legal practice. For historical reasons, it is administered by the law schools, with strong participation of the two professional bodies. In recent years, the Law Society has put forward a controversial proposal to introduce a Common Entrance Examination after the completion of the PCLL as an additional hurdle to admission to the solicitors' branch of the legal profession. The proposal met with strong opposition from all stakeholders, including the Bar Association. The consultants on legal education appointed by the Standing Committee on Legal Education, the statutory body overseeing legal education, recently commented in their interim report that there was no sufficient or convincing justification for the introduction of the Common Entrance Examination. One aspect of the controversy is whether the Law Society has the power to introduce such an examination...  Click here to download the full comment.

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