Applications to the Minister for Law for Exemption
[ANNOUNCEMENT: From 1 December 2017, Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) degrees (also known as Juris Doctor degrees) conferred on or after 1 December 2017 by approved Australian universities will be recognised for admission to the Singapore Bar, provided all other admission requirements are met. For more information, please refer to the Singapore Institute of Legal Education’s website .]
Under Rule 16 of the Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Rules, the Minister for Law may exempt a person from certain provisions of the "qualified person" requirements in Part II or III of the Rules, subject to such terms and conditions as the Minister may think fit to impose, and the person shall, to the extent of the exemption, be a “qualified person”.
Under Section 14 of the Legal Profession Act, the Minister for Law may, in his discretion, if he is of the opinion that a person possesses such qualification or expertise as would contribute to, promote or enhance the quality of legal services in Singapore or the economic or technological development of Singapore, approve the person as a qualified person for the purposes of the Act, subject to such conditions as the Minister may think fit to impose. The Minister for Law may also exempt individuals from Part B of the Bar Examinations and the practice training period.
Which Requirements Can I Seek an Exemption from?
Before submitting an application for exemption, it is your
responsibility to read the Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Rules and
the Legal Profession (Admission) Rules, or to check
with the Singapore Institute of Legal Education, to
ascertain the requirements from which you need an exemption.
Requirements / restrictions from which the Minister for Law may exempt a person include:
- The requirement to be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident
- The requirement to have a scheduled degree from a scheduled university
- Dual or combined degree
- Accelerated degrees
- Third Class degrees (not ranked within top 70%)
- External degrees
- Twinning programmes
- Part A of the Singapore Bar Examinations
- Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations (see below)
- Practice Training Period (see below)
However, please note that exemptions are granted sparingly. We are unable to advise you on your chances of obtaining an exemption.
Applying for an Exemption in Advance
Before embarking on a law degree, you should check the relevant legislation and/or with the Singapore Institute of Legal Education to ascertain that it will be recognised for admission to the Singapore Bar.
If the degree is not a recognised degree, but you would nonetheless like to try to obtain an exemption for it, you should submit an application for exemption before accepting an offer from the university.
If you have already embarked on the course and realise that it is not recognised for admission to the Singapore Bar, you should submit an application for an exemption as soon as possible.
Exemptions from Part B and the Practice Training Period
You may submit an application to the Minister for Law to be considered for an exemption from the practice training period and Part B of the Bar Examinations if you fulfil all the following requirements:
(i) You obtained an approved law degree from an approved university and you fulfil all the other "qualified person" requirements;
(ii) You are admitted to practise in a common law jurisdiction; and
(iii) You have obtained at least 2 years of “relevant legal practice or work” and/or “relevant legal training” as defined in Rule 2 of the Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Rules.
However, please note that exemptions from Part B and the practice
training period are not granted automatically, even if you fulfil all
the above requirements. All applications for exemption are considered
case-by-case on their individual merits.
Application for Exemption Form
All applications for exemption (including repeat applications and approvals in advance of embarking on a course), must be made using the Application for Exemption Form. We do not accept hardcopy applications.
- It can take a few months for applications to be processed as
external parties may be consulted. It is your responsibility to
submit your application in a timely manner.
- In order to complete your online application, you are also required to submit all supporting documents in softcopy via our online enquiry form (Contact Us @ OneMinLaw) within 7 calendar days of the submission date of the online application. Otherwise, your application will be deemed to have lapsed and you will be required to submit a new application with payment of the applicable administrative fees. Therefore, you should only submit your online application for exemption when all your supporting documents are ready. Please click here for more information on supporting documents.
- Each application is considered case-by-case on its individual
merits. We are unable to disclose the reasons why an application was
successful or unsuccessful.
- Where your
application was unsuccessful, please note that repeat applications
on the same facts are unlikely to produce a different result. You
should consider re-applying only if there are new material facts or
circumstances that demonstrate a stronger case for the particular
- Please note that we receive a high volume of queries and it can take up to 14 working days (about 3 weeks) for us to reply to enquiries on applications. We will contact you if we require any further information or clarification. We will inform you of our decision by email in due course.