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Law exam cheats: Law Society to 'carefully' review Bar applications, will object if not satisfied with trainees' suitability

Law exam cheats: Law Society to 'carefully' review Bar applications, will object if not satisfied with trainees' suitability

People walk across a bridge near the Supreme Court in Singapore on Nov 9, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: The Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) will "carefully review" the Bar applications of 11 trainee lawyers who cheated in their qualifying exams if they apply to be admitted to the legal profession again. 

In a statement on Wednesday (Apr 20), LawSoc also said it would also look at "any evidence of steps" these trainee lawyers take to address their past conduct. 

"If the Law Society is not satisfied that they are fit to be admitted as lawyers, we will object to their admission," it added. 

On Monday, six trainee lawyers had their admission to the legal profession delayed for at least six months after the Attorney-General objected to their Bar applications due to the cheating. 

A day later, the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) revealed that the applications of five more trainee lawyers were under consideration after they too were caught cheating in the same exams in 2020. 

LawSoc said those found to have cheated on their qualifying exam "have fallen far short of the standard that is expected of a lawyer in Singapore". 

As it does not conduct the qualifying exams, LawSoc said it was not able to address questions on how the cheating was detected. But it said it takes its role in accessing the "fitness and suitability" of applicants very seriously.

"As officers of the court, lawyers are held to a high standard in their professional and personal conduct. Good character and integrity are fundamental traits that every lawyer must have." 

The AGC said on Tuesday that the Attorney-General "takes the view that, in all cases where applicants had cheated on the bar examinations, such applicants would not be fit and proper persons to be admitted as Advocates and Solicitors of the Supreme Court of Singapore at this point in time." 

To practise law in Singapore, law graduates must be admitted to the Bar by passing a set of exams known as Part B. Law graduates from approved overseas universities must also take another conversion examination known as Part A.

The Attorney-General, Singapore Institute of Legal Education and LawSoc must not object to the application in order for the lawyer to be admitted.

Source: CNA/vc(ac)

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