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     FrontPage Edition: Thu 19 October 2006

Singapore eases admission criteria for new lawyers


Scheme to Allow Graduates with Second Class Lower Division Honours Degrees to Practise Law in Singapore

Government announced on 17 August 2006, its in-principle acceptance of the recommendation of the Third Committee on the Supply of Lawyers chaired by the former Attorney-General, to allow Singaporean citizens or Permanent Residents ("PRs") who graduated from Overseas Scheduled Universities with Second Class (Lower Division) Honours to practise law in Singapore, provided they possessed certain relevant work experience or qualifications.
The Ministry of Law and the Board of Legal Education (the "Board") are pleased to announce the details of the scheme.
Candidates from recognized United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and US universities fulfilling the criteria set out below, may be eligible to qualify for admission as an advocate and solicitor of the Singapore Supreme Court.

Candidates seeking admission under the scheme must be:

(a) A citizen or a permanent resident of Singapore;

(b) Have:

   (i) Obtained a Lower Second Class Honours from a Scheduled United Kingdom
       University; or

   (ii) Been ranked in the highest 70 percent in terms of academic performance of the total
       number of the graduates in his or her batch in a scheduled US, Australian or New
       Zealand University; and

(c) Have obtained:

   (i) 3 years of relevant legal work experience; or

   (ii) be a solicitor of England and Wales or Hong Kong.

To qualify for consideration under the relevant legal work experience criterion, candidates applying must have undertaken work of a legal nature such as prosecution work, advocacy work, the drafting of legal documents, the rendering of legal opinions, legal research and preparation for litigation or arbitration.
Candidates should also generally have undertaken such legal work under supervision and in the context of working:

(i) in a law firm in Singapore or elsewhere;

(ii) as an Assistant Public Prosecutor or legal executive in the Attorney-General's Chambers;

(iii) as a legal executive in a law office in the public service or a statutory board; or

(iv) as a legal counsel in a corporation or entity (whether publicly listed or otherwise) in Singapore or elsewhere, including a multinational or an international organisation.
Candidates who seek to qualify under this scheme have to undergo and pass an interview conducted by the Board.
Candidates assessed by the Board to possess the requisite standard for the purposes of admission to the Singapore Bar will be issued a Certificate of Exemption from the requirement of obtaining an Upper Second Class Honours or equivalent, from a scheduled university.
The Certificate is valid for a period of 3 years from the date of issue. Thereafter, he or she must fulfil all other requirements for admission to the Singapore Bar including passing the Diploma in Singapore Law Course, Postgraduate Practical Law Course and serve pupillage.
Applications for exemption may be made from today. Interested candidates can visit the Board's website at for further details.
Issued by the Ministry of Law and Board of Legal Education
16 October 2006

Source: Press Release 16 Oct 2006

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