More Attractive for Experienced Lawyers to Return
13 MAY 2009
13 May 2009 Posted in Press releases
- The Ministry of Law has fine-tuned requirements for experienced lawyers to be admitted to the Singapore Bar. The changes follow upon the earlier announcements in February 2009 by Mr K Shanmugam, the Minister for Law and Second Minister for Home Affairs, regarding changes to the legal education framework.
- The admission regime announced in February was that generally, overseas graduates would need to take:
- Part A of the Bar Examination, which would test their knowledge of Singapore law;
- Part B of the Bar Examination, which would include a 5-month practical law course; and
- A 12-month Training Contract, at least 6 months of which would have to be done at a Singapore Law Practice after passing Part B.
The former Diploma in Singapore Law (DipSing) would no longer be a requirement for returning overseas graduates.
Refinements to the Admission Requirements
- The admission requirements have been refined for the following categories of Singaporean citizens or Permanent Residents from approved overseas universities:
- Lawyers who are qualified in a common law jurisdiction and who have gained at least two years of legal experience
- These graduates can now be admitted to the Singapore Bar after passing Part A of the Bar Examination. They need not take the Part B examination or fulfil any Training Contract requirements as they would have acquired the necessary training if they had qualified in other jurisdictions and had obtained at least two years of legal experience.
- The kind of work experience recognised will be formal legal training (including pupillage) or practice as a qualified lawyer in a law firm, or equivalent experience as in-house counsel in a commercial entity. This experience can be obtained in Singapore or overseas.
- Overseas graduates, whether qualified in a common law jurisdiction or not, who have gained at least six months of legal experience
- These graduates will still be required to take Part A and Part B of the Bar Examination, and the prior six months of legal experience they have obtained will reduce their 12-month Training Contract requirement by six months. Again, the kind of work experience recognised will be formal legal training (including pupillage) or practice as a qualified lawyer in a law firm, or equivalent experience as in-house counsel in a commercial entity. This experience can be obtained in Singapore or overseas.
- The key change is that under the revised regime, we will now allow them to complete the six-month Training Contract after passing Part A, rather than after passing Part B.
- These changes are further steps in creating an increasingly vibrant legal services landscape. With the announcement of the six Qualifying Foreign Law Practice licences last year, new foreign law firms have registered in Singapore, and existing practices are seeking to expand. These steps will make it more attractive for local lawyers who have been based abroad to return. Minister Shanmugam said, “We have received feedback from experienced lawyers overseas that they want to return to Singapore to practise law. We have an opportunity to enhance our position in the global competition for talent and these changes enable us to take full advantage of the window of opportunity. Singapore will continue to be an important legal and arbitration hub for the region. The return of our experienced lawyers will augment our talent pool and make our legal sector more vibrant.”
- The National University of Singapore (NUS) will hold the first Part A Bar Examination later in November, with the three-month optional preparation course commencing in August. In view of the changes, NUS has extended the deadline for applications for the optional course by one month to 15 June 2009. More details are available at http://www.law.nus.edu.sg/cle/partA_bar/partA_bar_faq.html
Last updated on 27 Nov 2012