Applications of trainee lawyers who cheated in Bar exam will be 'carefully reviewed': Law Society

This comes after 11 trainee lawyers were found to have cheated in their 2020 Bar exam. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Trainee lawyers found to have cheated in their qualifying examination and apply to be called to the Bar will have their applications carefully reviewed.

This would include any evidence of steps that they have taken to address their past conduct, said the Law Society on Wednesday (April 20). "If the Law Society is not satisfied that they are fit to be admitted as lawyers, we will object to their admission."

This comes after 11 trainee lawyers were found to have cheated in their 2020 Bar exam.

The Law Society's role is to assess the fitness and suitability of every person who applies for admission as an advocate and solicitor, a Law Society spokesman said in the statement.

"This is a duty that the Law Society takes 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 spokesman added.

As the Law Society does not conduct the qualifying exams, it cannot address the matter of how the cheating was detected.

The Straits Times reported online on Monday that six trainee lawyers who cheated in the 2020 Part B of the Bar exam have had their admissions delayed.

The Attorney-General is considering five other applications by candidates who cheated in the 2020 Bar exam, a spokesman for the Attorney-General’s Chambers said on Tuesday.

ST understands the Bar exam was held online in 2020.

This was the first time the Attorney-General has objected to applications for admission to the Bar for cheating in the Bar exam.

The spokesman added the Attorney-General felt such applicants would not be currently fit to be admitted as advocates and solicitors of the Supreme Court of Singapore.

Their misconduct had showed they did not embody the key qualities of honesty and integrity that every lawyer must possess, she said.

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Of the six candidates that had their admissions delayed, five of them, who were found to have shared answers in six papers through WhatsApp, had to retake the papers. The remaining one, who colluded with another person taking the exam and cheated in three of the papers, had to retake the entire preparatory course for Part B of the Bar exam.

They have all since passed the required exams, but their applications to be called to the Bar have been postponed - six months for the five and a year for the other.

Law graduates have to go through a six-month course and pass the Bar exam, known as Part B, as well as complete a six-month training contract with a law firm.

They then qualify to be called to the Bar, which means they can practise as lawyers.
Applications have to be accepted by the Attorney-General, the Singapore Institute of Legal Education and the Law Society.

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