An amendment to the Judges Law and the Prosecutors Law of the People's Republic of China, adopted by the 9th Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on June 30, 2001, states in the two amendments’ supplementary rules that "a uniform judicial administration system must apply to anyone who is appointed as a judge or prosecutor for the first time or who becomes qualified as a lawyer. There will be measures for the Implementation of the National Judicial Examination drawn up by the State Council’s judicial administration dept in conjunction with the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate that must be organized and implemented by the judicial administration dept." The stipulation on the two laws symbolizes the formal establishment of a uniform national judicial examination system.
Held once a year, the national judicial examination is a uniform qualifying exam conducted in accordance with the personnel requirements of the legal profession. The examination is organized and implemented by the Justice Ministry’s judicial examination institution, with specific examination matters in the charge of judicial administration examination institutions at the provincial, autonomous region, and municipality level and the judicial administration examination institutions of city districts.
The national judicial exam is a uniform exercise that adheres to the principle of fairness and equitability in all procedures, content, mode, administration, grading and qualifications.
The first national judicial exam was held in 2002, with more than 360,000 people taking part. The qualifying grade was 240 points, and more than 24,000 examinees got their Certificate of Legal Profession Qualifications.
The qualifying grade of the first national judicial exam was reduced to 235 points for examinees from autonomous counties, provinces, regions and municipalities, certain groups in autonomous regions, and counties on the National 87 Helping Poverty Plan’s list, with more than 700 examinees getting the Certificate of Legal Profession Qualification.
There were 7 percent of the examinees in the first national judicial exam who qualified. More than 500 examinees were found to have violated regulations in the first exam, with each getting a warning, an annulment of some areas, and an exclusion from the exam for two years.