Guidance Note on Changes to Legislation Regarding Admission to the Singapore Bar
29 Jun 2009 Posted in Press releases
- Earlier this year, the following announcements were made concerning the following changes relating to admission requirements:
- The Diploma in Singapore Law (DipSing) applicable to overseas-trained Singaporean/PR law graduates from Scheduled Universities will been truncated into a three-month optional conversion course on Singapore law, culminating in Part A of a Bar Examination with effect from August 2009;
- The Practical Law Course (PLC) will be revamped into Part B of the Bar Examination starting from 2010, and applicable to both local law graduates and Singaporean/PR overseas-trained graduates from Scheduled Universities. The five-month revamped PLC will comprise more practical-based modules that will better prepare graduates for legal practice.
- Singaporean/PR overseas-trained graduates from Scheduled Universities who obtained lower second class honours who were not previously eligible for admission unless they satisfied the Board of Legal Education that they had obtained at least two years' relevant legal work experience (ie. the 2-2 scheme) would now be eligible for admission without having to fulfill the 2-2 scheme requirements.
- The current pupillage system would be replaced with Training Contracts, which would provide for more constructive and structured training of trainees. For local graduates the Training Contract would remain at six months (as with pupillage); while overseas-trained Singaporean/PR graduates who did the Part A examinations in 2009 and subsequent years, would do a total period of one year. The rationale for the additional six months for overseas-trained graduates, was that "on-the-job" learning at a Singapore Law Practice would be more beneficial than the academic one year DipSing. As a concession to those who wished to gain overseas experience, up to six months of overseas legal training or work experience would count towards the one year training requirement.
- Lawyers qualified in a common law jurisdiction and who have gained at least two years of legal experience would be admitted to the Singapore Bar after passing Part A of the Bar Examination. They would not be required to take the Part B examination or fulfill any Training Contract requirements.
- The attached draft legislation seeks to give effect to these announcements. The changes can be summarised as follows:
- Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill 2009
- The enclosed Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill 2009 (Annex A) makes amendments to:
- Take into account the new training contract requirements (Clauses 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12).
- Streamline the various exemption powers relating to admission requirements within the Act (Clauses 5, 9).
- Make consequential amendments arising from the changes introduced in (i) above, and minor amendments of a technical/law revision nature (Clause 13).
- Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Amendment Rules 2009
- The enclosed Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) (Amendment) Rules 2009 (Annex B) make amendments to:
- Incorporate the Part A examination and relevant legal training/work experience for overseas graduates as part of the requirement for becoming a "Qualified Person" under the Legal Profession Act, in place of the DipSing. Appropriate amendments are also made with regard to legal service officers (See amendments to Rules 6, 7, 8, 9, 9A and 15A);
- Allow Singaporean/PR overseas-trained lower second class honours law graduates from Scheduled Universities to be eligible for admission and to take into account paralegal work undertaken by those previously affected by the 2-2 scheme requirements and to extend a similar concession to those with upper second class honours/first class honours of the same cohorts who might similarly have undertaken paralegal work instead of getting admitted upon graduation (See amendments to Rules 8, 9, 9A and Rule 15A).
- To streamline overlapping exemption powers within the Rules to be exercised by the Minister for Law (See amendments to Rules 10, 11, 12 and 15).
- Miscellaneous amendments are also made to the Rules in respect of the following:
- "Twinning Programme": Appropriate amendments are made to the definition of "approved twinning programme" in Rule 2, to ensure that certain legitimate arrangements (otherwise technically caught by the current "twinning" definition, and the "full-time internal candidate" definition), are not so caught.
- The definition of "National University of Singapore" in Rule 2 is updated to reflect its status as a company limited by guarantee incorporated under the Companies Act.
- Amendments are made to Rule 5A to recognise Singapore Management University's Juris Doctor as a recognised degree for the purposes of admission to the Singapore Bar.
- Legal Profession (Amendment) Rules 2009
- The enclosed Legal Profession (Amendment) Rules 2009 (Annex C) make amendments to make consequential deletions to remove the relevant procedure/forms to the 2-2 scheme which was administered by the Board of Legal Education.
- Consultation has completed for the draft Bill and Rules posted here. The legislation is slated to come into effect in September 2009, and the site will be updated accordingly at the appropriate time.
Annex A - Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill 2009 (0.05MB)
Annex B - Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) (Amendment) Rules 2009 (0.06MB)
Annex C - Legal Profession (Amendment) Rules 2009 (0.01MB)
Last updated on 26 Nov 2012