The UniSIM Law School (ULS) Steering Committee, which comprised broad representation from leading family and criminal law practitioners, the Singapore Institute of Legal Education, the Law Society of Singapore, the courts and law academics, had considered the recommendations of the Fourth Committee on the Supply of Lawyers ("No conversion course for external law degree holders"; last Saturday).
After careful deliberation, the ULS Steering Committee concluded that the most suitable pathway for graduates with an external or unscheduled law degree would, in fact, be through the Juris Doctor (JD) programme.
The ULS is a specialist law school, focused on producing lawyers specialising in family and criminal law. Its pedagogical approach is practice-oriented and multidisciplinary.
Many aspects of family and criminal law are unique to Singapore's domestic context. The JD programme would ensure high and consistent standards in mastery of our own local laws, regardless of the student's first degree.
It would also serve as a quality sieve by ensuring that only suitable applicants are able to gain admission to the Singapore Bar.
Finally, offering the JD route to external law degree holders would avoid duplication of law programmes offered by the ULS.
The ULS JD programme is shorter than the ULS undergraduate Bachelor of Laws programme.
In addition, ULS JD law graduates will qualify for admission to the Singapore Bar by the local route. This means that they will not need to spend a year completing Part A of the Bar Examinations and the relevant legal training which overseas law graduates need to go through.
Part B of the Bar Examinations and the practice training requirements applicable to all law graduates will continue to apply.
Praveen Randhawa (Ms)
Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Law