Society says its exam offers uniform testing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 December, 2013, 4:46am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 December, 2013, 4:46am

The Law Society assured the city's three law schools yesterday that their existing examination for aspiring lawyers would not be replaced by an alternative it was considering, but challenged inconsistencies in their methods.

The face-off at a Legislative Council legal panel meeting, between the law schools' three deans and the former Law Society president Dieter Yih Lai-tak, followed months of debate in the media on whether the universities should exclusively decide who could become lawyers through their grip on admissions to the Postgraduate Certificate of Laws (PCLL) programmes.

The three schools issued a joint statement last week questioning the society's move. The Law Society regulates solicitors.

"Even for the PCLL, there is no certainty of consistency in standards. [Each school] has its own [admission] criteria, develops its own curriculum," Yih said.

He said the three law schools - at the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University and City University - employed different examination papers, while the society's planned examination, the common entrance examination (CEE), would have a uniform set of questions for the same subject. The CEE is subject to a consultation this month.

While he stressed the CEE would not replace the PCLL, fellow Law Society member Stephen Hung Wan-shun said students who failed the PCLL could also take the CEE if they wanted to become solicitors.

Chinese University Professor Christopher Gane said the PCLL was "not a great money maker", countering speculation that the schools' objection was financially oriented.