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Prosecutors’ reform bill poses trouble for applicants for public office

Prosecutors’ reform bill poses trouble for applicants for public office

Posted May. 06, 2022 07:52,   

Updated May. 06, 2022 07:52


“The test is only a few months away, and the law has changed again when even a couple of mistakes can decide the test of applicants.”

Park Hyeon-woo, a 31-year-old man who has been preparing for the police exam for three years, was devastated when he heard the news on the revision of the criminal procedure act. “I’ve got only three months before the exam, and the law has changed,” he said. “It is so frustrating that I have to start all over again.”

Frustration is palpable among those preparing to become police officers and lawyers, three days after the promulgation of the revised criminal procedure act designed to limit the investigative powers of the prosecution. In fact, the police exam for the latter half of the year is scheduled on Aug. 20, and the bar exam is slated for January next year, and the sudden change of the law is posing trouble to their preparations.

The revision was applied to the investigation section, which typically is responsible for eight questions out of 40 in the police exam and six out of 20 for the 9th grade prosecutor office exam. “Applicants have to rely on the sample questions from the previous tests, but when the law changes, there are no sample tests to refer to, and all the books and the online classes become useless,” said Kim Hyeon-soo, a 26-year-old who applied for the police exam in March this year. “We’ve already suffered much confusion from the adjustment of the investigation rights of the police and prosecution in January last year, but the confusion is getting worse.”

“If the law is to be enforced in September, I am not sure if the change will be reflected in the exam in August or from next year,” complained a 26-year-old man surnamed Woo, who is preparing for the police exam in August. “I have no clue where to start.”

Law school students also had similar concerns about their test. “We got our law books ready in late March for next year’s bar exam, but things have changed overnight, and the time that I put in over the last two months went up in smoke,” said a third grader at a law school in Seoul. “The revision directly affects criminal practices, so I fear that it might affect the bar exam as much because the test deals with actual litigation documents.”

But the professors of criminal procedures predict the impact to be marginal. “I expect three or four questions might be affected out of the eight questions in the investigation section,” said Professor Choi Jeong-hoon, who lectures at a police exam academy. “The change is minimal in terms of the substance, so it won’t affect the test too much.” Professor Lee Sang-won at Seoul National University Law School said that the impact on the test would be limited since there are not many theoretical changes from the revision.