Fix law exam billThe bill for the bar exam that defines new ways to select lawyers was rejected in the National Assembly on Thursday. The bill would have served as a guideline to decide curricula for law schools which are set to open in three months. The failure to pass the bill reveals an dysfunctional communication structure in the legislature, particularly inside the ruling party.
It was last October that the government gave advance notice of the proposed act and held a hearing before sending the bill to the judiciary committee. But the judiciary committee did not touch the bill for the past four months amid confrontation between ruling and opposition parties. When the National Assembly opened in February, the committee started to review the bill, voted for it on Thursday morning and submitted it to the plenary session of the National Assembly on Thursday afternoon. In the plenary meeting, a ruling party legislator opposed the bill, calling it the worst of the worst of bills due to hasty deliberations. Besides that lawmaker, many ruling party members either voted against the bill or abstained even though the government and the ruling party had agreed to push it through. This makes people wonder what went wrong with the governing party which has the responsibility to govern state affairs.
A revised bill should be passed in a special session at the National Assembly in April, at least for the 2,000 new law students who feel anxious over an unclear future. Issues such as limiting the number of applications must be solved by conducting a thorough re-examination and reflecting various opinions.
Some point out that allowing only those who have gone to law schools to take the bar exam is setting up a barrier against those who can’t afford tuition. Japan, for instance, has a preliminary test so that people can apply for the bar exam even if they haven’t graduated from law schools. However, some oppose a preliminary test, saying that it would negate the purpose of introducing U.S.-style law schools. The whole system of selecting lawyers must be thoroughly re-examined.
The bill was carelessly deliberated and rejected even though the ruling and opposition parties agreed to submit the bill, a mistake that must not be made twice. Different opinions inside the ruling party were expressed in the National Assembly. In order to prevent the sorry scene from taking place again, the party must fix its broken communications. When the National Assembly and the ruling party don’t function as they should the damage is passed to the people.