Law Society of S’pore Might Not Admit Trainee Lawyers Who Cheated in Bar Exams

A lawyer cheating on an exam is something unbelievable to many of us. After all, how can a dishonest person be trusted to uphold the law?

After news emerged of 11 trainee lawyers cheating in the 2020 Bar exams, the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) responded by saying they might object to the trainees’ admissions.

Process of Becoming a Lawyer

After going through a six-month course, law graduates are required to take the Bar exam, also known as Part B.

They have to then complete a six-month training contract with a law firm. Following this, they can qualify to be called to the Bar, which means they can practise as lawyers.

Graduates from approved foreign universities also have to take another exam known as Part A.

Applications have to be accepted by the Attorney-General (AG), the Singapore Institute of Legal Education (SILE) and the Law Society.

LawSoc Will “Carefully Review” and Object Any Unsatisfactory Candidates

Reports of 11 trainee lawyers cheating in the Part B Bar exams in 2020 emerged this week, along with sentiments of shock and disapproval from the general public.

The court hearings for these trainees’ admissions to the Bar will be delayed by six months to a year due to the cheating in the exams. The trainees will then have to file an affidavit justifying why they are “fit and proper” people to be admitted to the Bar.

The applications will then be heard by AG, SILE and LawSoc.

Responding to the news, LawSoc has said that they will “carefully review” the applications of the trainees who have cheated.

They stressed that good character and integrity are “fundamental traits that every lawyer must have”. If the Society finds the trainees to be unsatisfactory and unfit to be lawyers, they will object to their admission.

“As officers of the court, lawyers are held to a high standard in their professional and personal conduct,” said LawSoc. They reaffirmed that they’ll seriously assess the fitness and suitability of every person who applies for admission.

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LawSoc Not In Position to Address Queries on Penalisation, Detection

Despite being the representative body for all Singapore lawyers, the many queries LawSoc has been receiving about this case are out of their statutory powers.

The Bar exams are conducted by SILE instead of LawSoc, which is why they haven’t addressed any queries on how the cheating was detected.

However, they did opine that the trainees have fallen short of the standard that is expected of a lawyer in Singapore.

LawSoc also does not have the authority to penalise the trainees, as this falls outside their given powers.

They also declined to comment on the decision to adjourn the court hearings by six months to a year. Citing that the case has not yet been finalised, they deemed it inappropriate to comment on it.

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