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Legal Profession: Chinese Community

Volume 492: debated on Tuesday 12 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what criteria are applied to the selection of applicants to participate in the Lord Chancellor's Training scheme for young Chinese Lawyers; and if he will consider the merits of increasing the number of places available under the scheme each year. (273768)

Applicants to the Lord Chancellor's Training scheme for young Chinese Lawyers must:

be Chinese nationals aged between 25 and 40 on the application closing date;

be graduates of law who have passed the national lawyers' examination in China and have at least two years' post-qualification experience in a law firm in China;

have excellent written and oral English demonstrated by an overall score of 6.5 or over in the International English Language Testing System test (IELTS), ideally with a score of 6.0 or over in every test;

have specialist experience in one or more areas of legal practice of significance to China's development as a market economy and have strong personal motivation and an ability to adapt to different environments.

From past experience it has also been found desirable that the 15 successful lawyers:

represent a gender balance between males and females;

represent a wide variety of Chinese regions;

be working for Chinese law firms;

be experienced in commercial areas of law;

have a strong interest and perhaps some experience in international work;

be willing and keen to contribute to the development of the Chinese Justice system upon their return;

have excellent communication skills;

be highly motivated to learn, have a positive attitude, and be an excellent team player; and

be capable of resolving ethical dilemmas.

The Ministry of Justice has committed to fund the scheme until 2011. We will review the scheme in due course, using a set of criteria which is likely to focus on value for money, impact, achievements, and fit with our departmental strategic objectives. We will also need to consider the public sector's fiscal restraints at that time. I am sure that my hon. Friend will appreciate therefore that I cannot comment on the merits of increasing the number of places available until the review has been concluded.