The Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (BAKC) has announced the recruitment of 60 individuals into the 18th class of law students through entrance examinations at the Centre for Lawyers Training & Legal Professional Improvement (LTC).

BAKC’s announcement on November 30 said applications for the new class of law students will be accepted from December 3 until February 19 next year. Among the selection criteria, candidates must be Cambodian citizens with at least a bachelor’s degree in law and must not have any prior criminal convictions.

Bar Association president Ly Chantola told The Post on December 2 that Cambodia now has a total of 2,287 legal practitioners, including 1,721 full-time attorneys and 337 interns.

He said that selecting these new law students, as well as sustaining future recruitment, is critical for maintaining a sufficient pool of legal talent to serve the nation’s needs. The new recruits will replace the 17th class of law students who graduated in August.

As the newly elected president of the BAKC, Chantola is committed to recruiting talented and ethical lawyers who will contribute to the promotion and development of the legal and judicial sectors, enhancing the public image and prestige of the legal profession.

“I will take all measures to ensure transparency and efficiency in this competition. I would also like to call on those who already have law training and other advanced degrees to participate. All candidates should study hard to prepare for this exam,” he said.

“Economic background is not a determining factor for passing or failing,” Chantola emphasised. “Abilities and merits will determine success.”

The entrance exam date for new programme will be announced soon, he explained, suggesting it might be three or four months following the closing date for receipt of applications.

Transparency International Cambodia executive director Pech Pisey praised Chantola for his commitment to selecting a new generation of lawyers with the appropriate values, abilities and knowledge necessary to uphold the responsibilities of their positions.

If these standards can be realised, Pisey said, it would be possible to ensure the integrity of the selection of new law enforcement officers and other justice officials – an integral foundation to providing effective protection and justice for society.

“If we can select good officials, we can expect that our community will be better served, and regardless of whether someone is poor or rich, each person will have equal rights to justice before the law,” he said.

He added that achieving this goal is predicated on the fair selection of officials with whom the public may place their trust.

Pisey called for an elimination of bribery and other irregularities whereby candidates might illegitimately secure exam seats or passing grades.

These issues have long plagued recruitment procedures, he said, and he expects these issues to be addressed conclusively in order to find candidates who are truly capable and willing to serve the interests of society.