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Bar seeks removal of clerk section

The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia has requested that the Ministry of Justice remove a section of a new draft law that will determine the process for judicial clerks to become lawyers, the bar association confirmed.

A letter dated August 25 and signed by the bar’s president says the draft law could affect the independence of lawyers.

The current draft states that clerks who want to become lawyers would have to be vetted by a committee of officials hand-selected by the ministry.

This system would strip the bar of its right to oversee who enters the legal profession, bar president Bun Honn said. Currently, a clerk must apply with the bar association to become a lawyer. The newly proposed law would change that by making the Ministry of Justice an influential middle man, legal experts say.

“The bar association would just act as a rubber stamp for the Ministry of Justice,” explained legal analyst Sok Sam Oeun.

It’s unclear whether the Ministry of Justice will take the bar’s concerns into consideration, and ministry spokesman Kim Santepheap could not be reached for comment.

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