The Legal Profession Qualifying Board (LPQB) suddenly notified local private tertiary institutions that it would stop accepting the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) as a qualification for Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP).
This means that UEC holders currently pursuing law courses will be affected by the decision.
Anyway, there are still points to be clarified, and the LPQB has the obligation to provide further explanation on this matter.
It is unclear whether the decision would involve students currently pursuing law courses. National Association of Private Educational Institutions (NAPEI) president Elajsolan VM Mohan anticipated that the ruling would only involve future law students.
Other than offering an unambiguous explanation on this matter, perhaps LPQB should also provide justifiable reasons for this decision.
From what we understand, the decision was made in September 2005, but why does LPQB choose to put this decision into implementation all of a sudden only after a lapse of twelve years? And why did it make the decision in the first place and then did nothing about it until now? There must be good answers to these questions.
The most crucial part is the rationality behind the move. UEC has been broadly recognized worldwide by established universities for its enviable academic standards. Unfortunately back here the LPQB has opted to deny UEC as a CLP qualification.
Many UEC holders have pursued law courses here and abroad and have been awarded CLP to become eligible and qualified lawyers. This shows that UEC holders indeed are competent enough to practice law.
LPQB’s decision is both unreasonable and unfair. It is absolutely necessary for the board to provide convincing reasons to support their move, or they should just review the decision.
The decision will not only affect UEC holders, but could also trigger an irreversible brain drain while dealing a severe blow on UEC and independent high schools in the country.
The local Chinese community has for years fighting for government recognition of UEC, and the government has indeed displayed a more liberal attitude in recent years. LPQB’s decision is pouring cold water on UEC to the frustration of many.
Against the backdrop of an increasingly liberalized higher education sector, it is necessary for the government and various agencies including LPQB to be more open-minded in accepting talented young people instead of locking themselves in the cocoon of their antiquated thinking.