Those who have passed the state-run judicial examination are required to complete a two-year training course at the Judicial Research Training Institute before entering the legal profession. With the judicial examination being replaced by the Korean bar examination administered for law school graduates, the training at the institute is set to continue during a transitional period lasting until 2016.
On Wednesday, when 947 trainees were set to undertake training, however, more than 500 boycotted the entrance ceremony in protest against the Ministry of Justice’s plan to start a new process for selecting prosecutors.
But the protestors breached the law by doing so. That was truly regrettable, and all the more so, given that they did so on their first day of training for the legal profession. What can they be expected to do with regard to violations of the law when they become judges, prosecutors or attorneys at law?
Those whose training at the institute is paid for with taxpayers’ money maintains the status of government employee for the training period. As such, they are banned from taking a collective action, regardless of whether or not they have a legitimate complaint.
The protest was triggered by the Ministry of Justice’s plan to select 50 from among 1,500 law school graduates as candidates for prosecutor positions, beginning next year. The plan suggests that the remaining positions, about 40, will be left for the roughly 1,000 graduates from the institute, given that the ministry recruited 90 as prosecutors this year. Trainees at the institute claim that the selection process is unfair and demand all should be given an equal opportunity. But what is wrong with the selection process? Contrary to the trainees’ claim, it is anything but unfair.
Those who boycotted the entrance ceremony must be duly disciplined. It is necessary to hold them accountable for what they did, like anybody else.