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Old 09-27-2015, 11:02 AM   #1
Advocatus
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Default UoL External Law Graduate Called to the Bar

I'm not too familiar with the rules for admission in Singapore but I was under the impression that the UoL external law degree was not an approved course for the purposes of admission to the Singapore Bar. However, the following article seems to indicate otherwise:

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapor...lifelong-dream

Is there an alternative pathway to legal practice in Singapore that I'm not aware of for those who have a number of years of legal work experience but did not graduate from an approved course?

Last edited by Advocatus; 09-27-2015 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 09-28-2015, 01:01 AM   #2
clueless
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Default RE: law admissions

Hi there, correct me if i'm wrong, but i believe you're able to circumvent the rules if you finished the UOL degree, got yourself certified at the UK bar and practiced for 2 or more years in UK; then you may be able to be certified as a foreign lawyer in SG and practice here.

I've also considered this pathway, but to be honest, it's infinitely difficult to get a training contract and an overseas law employment when you're in SG, unless you have connections.My best advice is to go through a foundation programme for UK schools that are approved, or to go to Aussie or NZ unis, with the easiest one being Flinders, followed by Tasmania. The latter is becoming more selective now with her law students, but it's quite a popular choice.

Of course, all these foreign schools also mean the fees are going to be much,much more expensive than your UOL degree, costing anywhere from 170grand to 350grand or more, depending on your school and your spending habits, as well as if you need a foundation year.

All the best!! Hope this helps!!!!
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clueless View Post
Hi there, correct me if i'm wrong, but i believe you're able to circumvent the rules if you finished the UOL degree, got yourself certified at the UK bar and practiced for 2 or more years in UK; then you may be able to be certified as a foreign lawyer in SG and practice here.
According to the article, he has worked in a Singaporean company since his graduation from UoL in 2007. There isn't any mention of him being previously admitted in the UK and having practised there. I have heard similar stories of people who weren't eligible to be called to the Singapore Bar at first instance due to not attending an approved course...etc subsequently becoming eligible after spending a couple of years as a paralegal/legal consultant/legal executive which is why I was curious as to whether there is some kind of alternative pathway that is not being widely advertised.

Last edited by Advocatus; 01-01-2016 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 01-02-2016, 07:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Advocatus View Post
According to the article, he has worked in a Singaporean company since his graduation from UoL in 2007. There isn't any mention of him being previously admitted in the UK and having practised there. I have heard similar stories of people who weren't eligible to be called to the Singapore Bar at first instance due to not attending an approved course...etc subsequently becoming eligible after spending a couple of years as a paralegal/legal consultant/legal executive which is why I was curious as to whether there is some kind of alternative pathway that is not being widely advertised.
He does not meet the criteria for being a "qualified person" to be called to the bar. However, he could have gotten an exemption from the Minister of Law. That is a kind of alternative pathway, but it's not really a confirmed thing that you will obtain even if you've worked a few years like he did. So it's quite risky if you want to go down that route.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:23 AM   #5
Cavaliere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Advocatus View Post
According to the article, he has worked in a Singaporean company since his graduation from UoL in 2007. There isn't any mention of him being previously admitted in the UK and having practised there. I have heard similar stories of people who weren't eligible to be called to the Singapore Bar at first instance due to not attending an approved course...etc subsequently becoming eligible after spending a couple of years as a paralegal/legal consultant/legal executive which is why I was curious as to whether there is some kind of alternative pathway that is not being widely advertised.
What havok_ex mentioned is correct. You can apply to the Minister for Law for an exemption if you do not meet the requirement of being a "Qualified Person" under the Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Rules (see https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/content/minl...exemption.html).

However, do note that the individual mentioned in the article has a very unique background. After completing his UOL Law degree, he worked as an in-house counsel for 3-4 years before applying for an exemption. Although it is the norm for companies to hire qualified lawyers as in-house counsel, there is no legal requirement for in-house counsel to be admitted to the Bar (see http://www.scca.org.sg/index.php?opt...167&Itemid=520). Thus, in the past, some companies did hire non-qualified law grads as in-house counsel. Given this exceptional situation where Mr Kumaravelu had already been practising as a lawyer (though only in an in-house capacity) for several years, it is not surprising that he received an exemption.

However, in the current job market where qualified lawyers are aplenty, it does seem unlikely that companies would be willing to take on non-qualified law grads as in-house counsel (unless you have some special expertise/experience or connections which set you apart).
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