On October 9, 2014, the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic conducted its first computerized qualification exam for 20 prospective advocates in Bishkek. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) provided the computers and software for the exam and monitored testing procedures.
On October 8, a handover ceremony was held at the Ministry of Justice, where ABA ROLI gave the ministry equipment that can be used in conducting the exam, including 10 computers and two video cameras. The ceremony was attended by 10 people, including Almambet Shykmamatov, the minister of justice of the Kyrgyz Republic, and Michael Greene, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) mission director in Kyrgyzstan.
“It is important that defense attorneys possess adequate knowledge and skills,” said Greene, speaking at the ceremony. “One way to ensure that only high-quality, well-trained advocates succeed in acquiring a license is to have candidates take a computer-based exam with an array of questions relevant to the situations they will face in providing criminal defense services.”
Developed by an ABA ROLI-led working group of local experts, the new format pulls 110 questions at random from a pool of 955 questions that test the practical, procedural and technical knowledge of aspiring advocates. Test-takers have two and a half hours to complete the exam. To help with the transition from the previous test format, which included written and oral exams, ABA ROLI partnered with the Kyrgyzstani Ministry of Justice and the Advocates Training Center to create a free preparatory course. The Ministry of Justice and the Advocates Training Center piloted the course in May 2014 for 18 prospective advocates. While none of the participants passed the model exam trainees took before the course, 90 percent passed the post-training one.
The computer-based qualification exam and supporting materials were developed with support from USAID.
To learn more about our work in Kyrgyzstan, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].