SOAS, University of London "extremely disappointed" to lose S'pore accreditation

SINGAPORE - The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London has responded to Singapore's decision to remove it from its pool of accredited law schools, saying that it is "extremely disappointed".

Mr Paul Kohler, head of the institution's school of law, defended its quality of legal education, saying that it has "made huge strides" and is now placed 10th in the latest Guardian Law League table that was released this year. He added that it ranked higher than many other British universities still on Singapore's approved list, such as the University of Warwick which came in 19th and University of Bristol which was 33rd.

The SOAS in London, he added, is focused on the study of the legal systems in Africa and Asia. "In today's globalised economy, students and employers require a bachelor of laws to go beyond the parochial confines of English law," he said.

He added that the school has courses in Asian law including Chinese law and Islamic law which apply to Singaporean students. He pointed out that the National University of Singapore has a similar course on Asia's legal systems.

Last month, the list of British law schools whose students can be admitted to the Singapore Bar was cut from 19 to 11. The eight dropped were the University of Exeter; University of Leeds; University of Leicester; University of Liverpool; School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; University of Manchester; University of Sheffield; and University of Southampton.

The changes will affect only next year's intake, and not students already studying there. The Ministry of Law had explained that the move was "to ensure the continued high quality of overseas-trained entrants to the Singapore Bar".

These universities, which are believed to have fared poorly in certain rankings such as the Guardian University Guide, had also told The Straits Times earlier that they were disappointed, and will work towards being reinstated to the list.