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China: Eight Laws Amended to Require New, Unified National Legal Profession Qualification Examination

(Nov. 10, 2017) On September 1, 2017, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) of China passed a decision on amending eight laws to institute a new unified national legal profession qualification exam, officially retiring the current unified national judicial exam established in 2010.  (Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui Changwu Weiyuan Hui Guanyu Xiugai Zhongguo Renmin Gongheguo Faguan Fa Deng Babu Falü de Jueding [The National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s Decision on Amending the Judges Law Among Eight Laws in All] (Sept. 1, 2017), National People’s Congress website.)  The eight laws are the Judges Law, the Procurators Law, the Civil Servants Law, the Lawyers Law, the Notarization Law, the Arbitration Law, the Administrative Reconsideration Law, and the Administrative Penalty Law.  The decision will take effect on January 1, 2018.  (Id.)

The amendments expand the types of legal professionals who need to obtain legal professional qualifications by passing the new unified exam, to include first-time judges; first-time procurators; lawyers; notaries; arbitrators; civil servants in administrative agencies who work for the first time on reviews of administrative penalty decisions, making administrative reconsideration decisions, or making administrative adjudications; and civil servants in administrative agencies who work for the first time as legal advisors.  (Id. items I-VIII.)

According to the Decision, persons already licensed or hired to work in the aforementioned positions are exempt from the new qualification and examination requirement.  The  Decision also authorizes the Ministry of Justice and other relevant government entities to organize and carry out the unified national judicial exams.  (Id. items I-IV.)

Prepared by Yichao Zhang, Law Library Intern, under the supervision of Laney Zhang, Senior Foreign Law Specialist.