Public Input Sought on Professionals-turned-lawyers Draft Rule

China's Cabinet on Monday began seeking public input on a draft rule clarifying how a professional from the trade, financial, environmental or high-tech circles can apply to become a lawyer.

Entitled "The Ordinance on Licensing and Appraisal of Professionals-Turned-Lawyers," the draft was publicized online by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, or the Cabinet, as open for opinions until April 6.

The long-awaited regulations are hoped to make up for China's shortage of lawyers who specialize in legal services pertaining to a series of specific fields.

According to the draft, Chinese professionals from the international trade, intellectual property rights, finance and securities, environmental protection, high-technology, media and journalism, and medical accidents sectors may apply to become lawyers.

A qualified applicant should be a Chinese national who holds a bachelor's degree obtained from a higher education institution and has worked at least 15 years and gained professional qualifications equivalent to the professorial-level in his or her specific area.

The State Council's legal affairs authorities are responsible for conducting performance appraisals of the professional lawyers and will announce a quota for such lawyers for a specific year on an annual basis, according to the draft.

The ordinance is believed to provide a supplementary channel for professionals to become licensed lawyers, besides setting up a national standard judicial examination, which is a necessary process for the country's would-be lawyers.

(Source: Xinhua)