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NATIONAL BAR EXAMINATION ACT

Act No. 9747, May 28, 2009

Amended by Act No. 10923, Jul. 25, 2011

Act No. 15154, Dec. 12, 2017

 Article 1 (Purpose)
The purpose of this Act is to provide for matters concerning the National Bar Examination which tests abilities to practice law, such as professional ethics and legal knowledge, necessary to legal professionals.
 Article 2 (Basic Principles in Administration of National Bar Examination)
The National Bar Examination (hereinafter referred to as "Examination") shall be administered in close connection with the curricula of professional law schools (hereinafter referred to as "professional law schools") under the Act on the Establishment and Management of Professional Law Schools.
 Article 3 (Examination Administration Authority)
The examination shall be supervised and administered by the Minister of Justice.
 Article 4 (Announcement and Administration of Examination)
(1) The Minister of Justice shall administer the Examination at least once annually, and the Minister shall announce the plan to administer an examination.
(2) Matters necessary for the announcement under paragraph (1) shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 5 (Qualifications for Application)
(1) A person who intends to apply for the Examination shall have earned a juris doctorate degree from a professional law school under Article 18 (1) of the Act on the Establishment and Management of Professional Law Schools: Provided, That a person may apply for the Legal Ethics Examination prior to conferment of a juris doctorate degree from a professional law school, as prescribed by Presidential Decree.
(2) A person shall be regarded as qualified for the application under the main clause of paragraph (1) if he/she is expected to earn a juris doctorate degree from a professional law school under Article 18 (1) of the Act on the Establishment and Management of Professional Law Schools: Provided, That in cases where such person fails to earn a juris doctorate degree at the expected time, he/she may be rejected or a decision to accept him/her may be cancelled. <Newly Inserted by Act No. 10923, Jul. 25, 2011>
(3) The methods for determining applications for application under paragraph (1) and (2) shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree. <Amended by Act No. 10923, Jul. 25, 2011>
(4) Where the Minister of Justice or a person applying for the Examination requests verification of qualifications of the person applying for the Examination, the head of a professional law school shall verify such qualifications. <Amended by Act No. 10923, Jul. 25, 2011>
 Article 6 (Reasons for Disqualification)
Any of the following persons may not apply for the Examination during the period of the Examination announced under Article 4: <Amended by Act No. 15154, Dec. 12, 2017>
1. A person under adult guardianship or a person under limited guardianship;
2. A person for whom five years have not passed since his/her imprisonment without labor or heavier punishment declared by a court was completely executed (including cases where it is deemed completed) or the non-execution of such sentence has not become final;
3. A person for whom two years have not passed since the suspension of the execution of his/her imprisonment with labor or heavier punishment has ended;
4. A person who is under suspension of the sentence of imprisonment without labor or heavier punishment;
5. A person for whom five years have not passed since the person was removed from office by impeachment or disciplinary measures;
6. A person for whom five years have not passed since the person was disbarred under the Attorney-at-Law Act;
7. A person for whom three years have not passed since the person was dismissed from office by disciplinary measures;
8. A person who is permanently disbarred under the Attorney-at-Law Act.
 Article 7 (Limitation of Period and Number of Applications)
(1) A person may apply for the Exam (excluding the Legal Ethics Examination under Article 8 (1)) five times only during the five years from the last day of the month in which the person earns a juris doctorate degree from a professional law school under Article 18 (1) of the Act on the Establishment and Management of Professional Law Schools: Provided, That a person who applies pursuant to Article 5 (2) as he/she is expected to earn a juris doctorate degree may apply up to five times within five years from the date of the Examination held before he/she earns such degree. <Amended by Act No. 10923, Jul. 25, 2011>
(2) Where a person has completed mandatory military service under the Military Service Act or the Military Personnel Management Act, after the person earns a juris doctorate degree from a professional law school under Article 18 (1) of the Act on the Establishment and Management of Professional Law Schools, the period of military service shall not be included in the period of application for the Exam under subparagraph (1).
 Article 8 (Method of Examination)
(1) The Examination shall consist of a written examination with multiple-choice questions (including fill-in-the-blank questions; hereinafter the same shall apply), essays (including skills evaluation; hereinafter the same shall apply), and a separate Legal Ethics Examination.
(2) The format of the Examination shall be of a written multiple-choice questions and written essays.
(3) Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2), only written essays shall be given on the subject of legal specialties under Article 9 (1) 4.
(4) The Minister of Justice may designate an outside institution having the organizational and human resources necessary for administration of the Legal Ethics Examination and may instruct to administer the Legal Ethics Examination.
(5) Designation criteria for an outside institution, designation procedures, designation revocation, and supervision of the outside institution, under paragraph (4), and other necessary matters concerning the Legal Ethics Examination shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 9 (Examination Subjects)
(1) The Examination subjects shall be as follows:
1. Public Law (referring to the subjects in the area of the Constitution and administrative Acts);
2. Civil Procedures Law (referring to the subjects in the area of the Civil Act, the Commercial Act, and the Civil Procedure Act);
3. Criminal Law (referring to the subjects in the area of the Criminal Act and the Criminal Procedure Act);
4. One subject of legal specialization selected by a person applying for the Examination.
(2) Subjects of legal specialties under paragraph (1) 4 shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
(3) For each subject, a range of Acts to be tested shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
(4) Where a subject of the Examination under paragraph (2) is newly included or abolished, or where a range of Acts to be tested is modified under paragraph (3), a grace period of two years shall be given prior to the date of the Examination on the relevant subject.
 Article 10 (Pass or Fail Decision of the Examination)
(1) The Minister of Justice shall determine successful candidates in consideration of the purposes for establishing professional law schools. In such cases, he/she shall hear the results of deliberation by the National Bar Examination Commission prescribed in Article 14 and the opinion of a corporation established under Article 32 of the Civil Act and Article 4 of the Act on the Establishment and Operation of Public Interest Corporations, which consists of the Supreme Court, the Korean Bar Association established under Article 78 of the Attorney-at-Law Act, professional law schools, etc. <Amended by Act No. 15154, Dec. 12, 2017>
(2) A pass or fail decision shall be based on the total score calculated by multiplying the scores of written multiple-choice questions and written essays by certain percentages and adding up the scores: where a score for any subject falls below the minimum passing score, a fail decision shall be made.
(3) The Legal Ethics Examination shall make a pass or fail decision only, and the score will not be included in the total score under paragraph (2).
(4) The calculation percentages of written multiple-choice questions and written essays, the ratio of the number of points alloted to each subject of the written multiple-choice questions and written essays, the minimum passing score for each subject, the passing score for the Legal Ethics Examination, the detailed score calculating method, and other methods for making pass or fail decisions shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree.
 Article 11 (Announcement of Successful Candidates and Issuance of Certificates of Passage)
When successful candidates are decided, the Minister of Justice shall immediately make a public announcement of the list of successful candidates and issue certificates of passage to the successful candidates. <Amended by Act No. 15154, Dec. 12, 2017>
 Article 12 (Partial Exemption of Examination)
A person who passed the Legal Ethics Examination shall be exempted from taking the Legal Ethics Examination during the period under Article 7.
 Article 13 (Examiners)
(1) There shall be examiners who are in charge of formulating and grading the Examination.
(2) Examiners shall be commissioned by the Minister of Justice for each Examination from among persons having extensive experience and knowledge relating to the Examination, and the number of examiners shall be prescribed by Presidential Decree: Provided, That a member of the National Bar Examination Commission under Article 14 may not be an examiner.
(3) In the performance of their duties, examiners shall be concerned with comprehensive evaluation of knowledge and practical abilities of a person who has successfully completed a curriculum at a professional law school.
 Article 14 (Establishment of National Bar Examination Commission and its Members)
(1) There shall be a National Bar Examination Commission (hereinafter referred to as "Commission") within the Ministry of Justice to administer the Examination.
(2) The Commission shall be comprised of 15 members including one chairperson and one vice chairperson, and the chairperson and the vice chairperson shall be designated by the Minister of Justice from among the members of the Commission.
(3) Members shall be persons falling under the following subparagraphs:
1. Vice Minister of Justice;
2. Persons who fall under any of the following items and who are commissioned by the Minister of Justice:
(a) Five members who are law professors (referring to associate professors or higher; hereinafter the same shall apply);
(b) Two members who are judges with ten years of experience or more and who are recommended by the Minister of National Court Administration;
(c) Two members who are public prosecutors with ten years of experience or more;
(d) Three members who are attorneys-at-law with ten years of experience or more and who are recommended by the President of the Korea Bar Association;
(e) Two members possessing scholarly knowledge and of good repute (excluding persons teaching law as full-time instructors or higher and attorneys-at-law), prescribed by Presidential Decree.
(4) The terms of the members shall be two years: where a member is commissioned as a member having the qualification of holding a position of law professor, judge, or public prosecutor and such member later resigns from such position, such member shall be deemed decommissioned, even if the term has not expired.
(5) The chairperson shall be the Commission's representative and shall exercise overall control of its affairs.
(6) Where the chairperson is unable to perform the duties of the chairperson due to unavoidable reasons, the vice chairperson shall act as chairperson on behalf of the chairperson.
 Article 15 (Duties of Commission)
The Commission shall deliberate on matters falling under any of the following subparagraphs:
1. Matters concerning the subject areas to be tested on the Examination and the testing criteria;
2. Matters concerning grading criteria;
3. Matters concerning the method for deciding the successful candidates;
4. Matters concerning the improvement of the method of the Examination and the method of administration of the Examination;
5. Other matters submitted to a meeting by the Minister of Justice concerning the Examination.
 Article 16 (Meetings of Commission)
(1) A meeting of the Commission shall be called by the chairperson, when the Minister of Justice requests a meeting or when the chairperson deems such meeting necessary.
(2) A meeting of the Commission shall require the attendance of a majority of all incumbent members, and a resolution of the meeting shall require the consent of a majority of those present.
 Article 17 (Measures against Persons who Engage in Misconduct)
(1) Where a person falls under any of the following subparagraphs, the Minister of Justice may withhold or nullify the examination taken by such person and may set a period of five years or less, depending on the circumstances, and disqualify such person from applying for the Examination under this Act during such period after the date on which a measure is taken: <Amended by Act No. 10923, Jul. 25, 2011>
1. A person who engages in misconduct prescribed by Presidential Decree, during the Examination;
2. A person who falsifies supporting documents relating to qualifications for application under Article 5 (3).
(2) Where a measure has been taken under paragraph (1), the Minister shall immediately notify the person subject to such measure.
 Article 17-2 (Measures Taken against Violators of Requirements for Applicants)
For a fair administration of the Examination, persons who violate requirements for applicants prescribed by the Presidential Decree may be disqualified for the Examination for the relevant exam period or the remaining exam periods, or may get zero on the Examination.
[This Article Newly Inserted by Act No. 10923, Jul. 25, 2011]
 Article 18 (Disclosure of Examination Information)
(1) A person who has applied for the Examination may request the Minister of Justice to disclose his/her score, within one year from the date the successful candidates of the relevant Examination are announced. In such cases, the Minister of Justice shall disclose the score of the person who has made such request. <Amended by Act No. 15154, Dec. 12, 2017>
(2) The Minister may choose not to disclose the grading sheet, the answer sheet, or other information which, if disclosed, might significantly interfere with the fair administration of the affairs relating to the Examination.
[Paragraph (1) of this Article, which was determined to be unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court on Jun. 25, 2015, was amended by Act No. 15154, promulgated on Dec. 12, 2017]
 Article 19 (Request for Cooperation of Other Institutions, etc.)
(1) In order to facilitate the smooth administration of the Examination, the Minister of Justice may request the heads of central administrative agencies, local governments, relevant agencies or national and public schools to provide space for the Examination, to send personnel to administer the Examination, to formulate questions, to supervise order at Examination locations, and to provide other necessary cooperation.
(2) Where the head of a central administrative agency, local government, relevant agency or national or public school receives a request of the Minister under paragraph (1), such head shall comply with such request, unless extraordinary circumstances exist.
 Article 20 (Examination Application Fee)
(1) A person who applies for the Examination shall pay an application fee prescribed by Presidential Decree.
(2) Where a person fails to sit for the Examination after submitting the Examination application, the application fee shall not be refunded: Provided, That in a case where such person withdraws his/her application before the date of the Examination in accordance with the Presidential Decree, the application fee shall be fully or partially refunded. <Amended by Act No. 10923, Jul. 25, 2011>
 Article 21 (Legal Fiction of Public Officials in Application of Penal Provisions)
A member of the Commission, examiners who are not public officials, or executive officers and employees who are not public officials at the designated outside institution which administers the Legal Ethics Examination under Article 8 (4) shall be deemed public officials in connection with their duties in applying of Articles 127 and 129 through 132 of the Criminal Act.
ADDENDA
Article 1 (Enforcement Date)
This Act shall enter into force three months after the date of its promulgation: Provided, That Articles 4 and 6 of the Addenda shall enter into force on the date of its promulgation, and Article 2 of the Addenda shall enter into force on December 31, 2017.
Article 2 (Repeal of Other Acts)
The Korean Bar Examination Act shall be repealed.
Article 3 (Special Cases concerning Administration of National Bar Examination)
Notwithstanding Article 1 of the Addenda and Article 4, the first National Bar Examination under this Act shall be administered in 2012.
Article 4 (Parallel Administration of Korean Bar Examination)
(1) Aside from the Examination under this Act, the Korean Bar Examination shall be administered through 2017: Provided, That a person, who passes the 1st of the three tests of the Korean Bar Examination in 2016 but fails the 2nd or 3rd test in 2016, may take the 2nd or 3rd test in 2017.
(2) Notwithstanding Article 5 of the Korean Bar Examination Act, a person who is enrolled in, or is taking a leave of absence from, a juris doctorate degree program at a professional law school and a person who earned a juris doctorate degree from a professional law school may not apply for the Korean Bar Examination.
(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (2), a person who is enrolled in, or is taking a leave of absence from, a juris doctorate degree program at a professional law school may apply for the Korean Bar Examination up to the time when any of the three tests is exempted under Articles 7 (2) and 10 of the Korean Bar Examination Act (limited to cases where such person applies for the next test following the exempted test), only in cases where such person has passed the 1st test of the Korean Bar Examination administered in the year in which the date of promulgation of this Act falls or where such person has passed the 1st or the 2nd test of the Korean Bar Examination taken in the year preceeding the year in which the date of promulgation of this Act falls. In such cases, when Article 7 (1) applies, the Korean Bar Examination taken after the date of enrollment shall be deemed the Examination under this Act and shall be included in the number of applications for the Examination.
Article 5 (Measures against Applicants who Engage in Misconduct)
A person who is disqualified under Article 17 (1) may not apply for the Korean Bar Examination under the Korean Bar Examination Act during the disqualifying period, and a person who is disqualified under Article 17 (1) of the Korean Bar Examination may not apply for the Examination under this Act during the disqualifying period.
Article 6 (Transitional Measures concerning Korean Bar Examination Commission)
The Korean Bar Examination Commission under Article 14 of the Korean Bar Examination may take advance measures to prepare for the Examination under this Act. In such cases, advance measures taken by the Korean Bar Examination shall be deemed taken by the National Bar Examination as of the time of establishment of the National Bar Examination under this Act.
ADDENDUM <Act No. 10923, Jul. 25, 2011>
This Act shall enter into force on the date of its promulgation.
ADDENDA <Act No. 15154, Dec. 12, 2017>
Article 1 (Enforcement Date)
This Act shall enter into force on the date of its promulgation.
Article 2 (Special Cases concerning Disclosure of Examination Information)
Notwithstanding the amended provisions of Article 18 (1), a person who has passed the Examination before this Act enters into force may request the Minister of Justice to disclose his/her score, within six months after the enforcement date of this Act.
Article 3 (Transitional Measures concerning Incompetent Persons, etc.)
A person under adult guardianship or a person under limited guardianship under the amended provisions of Article 6 shall be deemed to include a person for whom the adjudication of incompetence or quasi-incompetence remains in effect under Article 2 of the Addenda to the Civil Act (Act No. 10429).