Minimum 3.0 GPA needed to practise law here

Students need a minimum GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 to practise law in SMU's Juris Doctor (JD) programme.
Students need a minimum GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 to practise law in SMU's Juris Doctor (JD) programme. PHOTO: SMU

Georgy Kotsaga's former classmates from Singapore Management University's Juris Doctor (JD) programme said he could have acted out of stress or fear of being unable to practise law here.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday which has since been taken down, Ms Michelle Wong said: "I do not approve of his action but I understand his state of mind because all of us in the JD programme are subject to a fair amount of pressure."

The programme, which costs about $70,000, is for those with a bachelor's degree in other disciplines or a law degree from countries following the civil law. Singapore follows the English common law system.

Students need a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 out of 4.0 - equivalent to a B grade - to practise law here. They also need to do six weeks of internship and 50 hours of community service. A court heard that Kotsaga's actions were driven by fears that his 3.09 GPA would fall below 3.0 after the exam.

Mr Christopher Ng, 41, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday: "Georgy barely made that cut and my speculation is that the fear that he would not be allowed to practise led to him to... delete all our scripts."

Yuen Sin and Pang Xue Qiang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2016, with the headline 'Minimum 3.0 GPA needed to practise law here'. Print Edition | Subscribe