On Monday, 29 March, during the meeting of the state uniform examination commission for lawyers, a decision was made to organize the first uniform qualification examination for lawyers in Latvia on 9 June 2021.
Jānis Bordāns, Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice: “The uniform examination for acquisition of the qualification of a lawyer will serve as a screen, to be passed by students, in order to consider them as competent enough for acquisition of the qualification of a lawyer. Besides, this is a good start point for raising of the quality of the legal education in the long-term perspective.”
The chairperson of the Commission - Ineta Ziemele, the judge of the Court of Justice of the European Union as well as her deputies - representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor General Alēns Mickevičs, Mārcis Viļums, Gints Bērziņš and Andris Spore, the Deputy Chairperson of the Council of Latvian Sworn Bailiffs - were elected during the meeting of the Commission. The task of the Commission will be preparation and evaluation of the qualification examination for lawyers.
I.Ziemele emphasizes: “The future lawyers of Latvia study in the universities of Latvia. Therefore, their qualification should correspond not only with the needs of nowadays, but already the needs of the future Latvia. The big challenge of the Commission will be to turn the current base into the selection of new lawyers, who are able to freely and professionally work in the Latvian as and the common European Union legal environment.”
Approximately 220 students, who commenced their studies in the professional master study programme in legal science as of the autumn semester of 2019, will pass the examination in summer of this year. While, starting as of the next year, all students of the professional master study programme in legal science will pass the qualification examination.
In order to acquire the professional qualification of a lawyer, students will have to pass the examination after presentation of the Master's Paper. The qualification examination will examine knowledge and skills of the student in different legal areas and it will be organized in two parts - a theoretical part and a practical part.
Students of the universities of Latvia will pass the qualification examination at the same time online by using the electronic environment, unless due to epidemiological safety measures the Commission will have to decide about passing of the examination in the paper form.
The qualification examination will be organized twice a year, in accordance with the winter and summer exam session in universities.
It was already notified that the purpose of introduction of the uniform qualification examination for lawyers was to reform and in the long-term perspective to increase the quality of the legal education in Latvia. Currently, the study programmes for acquisition of the profession of a legal adviser are not accredited anymore, but further on there will be two study programmes of legal sciences with the professional qualification to be granted - a lawyer and assistant to lawyer.
The professional qualification examination commission for lawyers established under the order of the Ministry of Justice includes 45 person - the representatives of both, the academic environment as well as practitioners. The University of Latvia, Riga Stradiņš University, Rezekne Academy of Technologies, Daugavpils University and Turība University have proposed their representatives. Besides, the examination commission includes representatives of four high-quality professions - public prosecutors, sworn advocates, sworn bailiffs and sworn notaries, as well as representatives from regional courts and international institutions have been invited.