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PREPARATORY COURSE LEADING TO PART B OF THE SINGAPORE BAR EXAMINATIONS 2011

STUDENT

HANDBOOK

PREPARATORY COURSE LEADING TO PART B OF THE SINGAPORE BAR EXAMINATIONS 2011 STUDENT HANDBOOK

1. THE SINGAPORE INSTITUTE OF LEGAL EDUCATION

The Singapore Institute of Legal Education (‘the Institute’) is a statutory creature which was established by the recent amendments to the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161) (‘the Act’) on 3 May 2011.

In relation to the postgraduate legal education and evaluation of those seeking admission to the Bar, the Institute has taken over the functions of its predecessor, the Board of Legal Education. Some of its primary functions are (i) “ to maintain and improve the standards of legal education in Singapore and, in particular, … to review the implementation of initiatives, programmes and curricula relating to legal education in Singapore, including diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and continuing professional development” [Section 4(1)(a) of the Act] and (ii) “to provide for the training, education and examination, by the Institute or by any other body, of qualified persons intending to practise the profession of law in Singapore” [Section 4(1)(c)(i) of the Act]. Those seeking admission as advocates and solicitors of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Singapore must first be “qualified persons” as defined by the Act.

The primary focus of the Bar Admissions and Examinations (Part B) Office (‘the Part B Office’) of the Institute is the quality of the training and foundational knowledge of legal practice that it gives qualified persons to prepare them for the practise of law in Singapore. Its key role as coordinator of the Preparatory Course leading to Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations (‘the Course’) ensures that it is able to maintain that quality.

THE PREPARATORY COURSE LEADING TO PART B OF THE SINGAPORE BAR EXAMINATIONS

Section 13(1) of the Act specifies that no qualified person shall be admitted as an advocate and solicitor unless he

(a)

has attained the age of 21 years;

(b)

is of good character;

(c)

has satisfactorily served the practice training period applicable to him;

(d)

has attended and satisfactorily completed such courses of instruction as the Board of Directors of the Institute may prescribe under section 10 ; and

(e)

has passed such examinations as the Board of Directors of the Institute may prescribe under section 10 .

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Section 10 of the Act in turn empowers the Board of Directors of the Institute to to make rules to

(i)

prescribe the courses of instruction, and the subjects therein,

(ii)

to regulate the conduct of a qualified person while attending such a course (including through disciplinary measures for any misconduct); and

(iii)

to prescribe the examinations, and

(iv)

to regulate the conduct of a qualified person during such an examination (including through disciplinary measures for any misconduct);

The current legislative framework requires all qualified persons to attend and satisfactorily complete the Preparatory Course leading to Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations and also to pass Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations. A Committee appointed from the Board of Directors of the Institute has overview of the curriculum of the Course and makes recommendations on any changes.

The Course is a fulltime course running for five months. This year, all lectures will be conducted at the Auditorium of the Supreme Court Building, 1 Supreme Court Lane, Singapore 178879. All Advocacy Training, Practice/Drafting classes and Tutorials will be held at the courtrooms of the Subordinate Courts Building, 1 Havelock Square, Singapore 059724 . Workshops on Exploring LawNet and FMS EFS Research sessions will be conducted at the the LawNet Training Centre of the Singapore Academy of Law, situated at level 4 of the Supreme Court Building .

Objectives

The Course has the following specific objectives:

(i)

to teach and train students in procedural law and practice in Singapore, practical evidence, and certain areas of practice and the substantive law relevant to them;

(ii)

to train students in the skills of the professional lawyer and to provide opportunities to practice these skills under supervision.

It will introduce students to the work of the professional lawyer in his office, in dealing with clients, and in the courts. Emphasis will be laid on the tasks that the young lawyer will meet in the early years of practice, and students will be given opportunities to acquire and develop a variety of practical skills.

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PRINCIPLES UNDERLYING THE COURSE

The Course has been developed by the Board as a practical course covering the essential skills an advocate and solicitor must have in the early years of his practice. The main principles of the Course are:

(i)

The Course aims to be practical.

(ii)

Training is based on participation. This makes classes stimulating, but it is vital that students are prepared for them and that they practise as much as possible.

(iii)

All practical training exercises are as realistic as possible. Most exercises are based on authentic scenarios and students will get most out of them if they treat them as such.

(iv)

The Course will expect students to work as a trainee professional. For example, students will be expected to develop time management skills as well as client management skills and case management skills.

(v)

The content of the Course is broad based, so as to cover the areas that the majority of students are likely to encounter in their practice training period or early practice.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & CODE OF CONDUCT

The Course Requirements & Code of Conduct embody the objectives and underlying principles of the Course. The Course requirements clearly set out what students must do to obtain the Institute’s certificate for admission as an Advocate & Solicitor. The Code of Conduct sets out how students should or should not behave as a lawyer in training.

The Course Requirements & Code of Conduct are reproduced on Page 55. Students should have read them and signed a declaration that they have at the time of submitting their application to register for the Course.

2. COURSE AND PRACTICE TRAINING PERIOD

The Course will commence on 13 July 2010.

Students may not attend the Course and serve their Practice Training Period concurrently.

Unless otherwise provided in the Act, students may not engage in any employment, whether full time or parttime, without the prior written consent of the Director. More details can be found in the Code of Conduct.

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3. CONTENTS OF COURSE

The Course will be structured as follows:

(i)

Compulsory Subjects

(a)

Civil Litigation Practice

(b)

Criminal Litigation Practice

(c)

Corporate & Commercial Practice

(d)

Real Estate Practice

(e)

Family Law Practice

(f)

Ethics & Professional Responsibility

(g)

Professional Skills

(ii)

Elective Subjects

There are 6 elective subjects offered in the Course in 2011, which are divided into Category A Electives and Category B Electives. Each student has to successfully complete 2 elective subjects, one of which must be chosen from each category. The elective subjects offered in each category are:

Category A Electives

Category B Electives

A1 Advanced Corporate Practice

B1 Admiralty Practice

A2 Intellectual Property Law Practice

B2 Wills, Probate& Administration

A3 The Law and Practice of Arbitration

B3 Mediation Skills

NOTE: The Singapore Institute of Legal Education may in its discretion amend the syllabus for the Course or any individual subject as it thinks fit according to the circumstance.

(ii) Teaching and Examinations

The above examinable subjects will be taught through lectures, seminars, tutorials, File Management System, assignments and case studies. A written examination will be set in each of the seven subjects at the end of the Course. Students will be expected to draft in plain English, inter alia, agreements, contractual clauses, letters, opinions, court documents and pleadings and other documents.

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Assessments for Compulsory Subjects

There will be an Assignment and/or Continuous Assessment and /or Practical Assessment. The results of these assessments will be considered with the performance in a final written Examination in awarding a Pass , Fail or Distinction grade to the student for that subject.

Assessments for Elective Subjects

Category A Electives

Elective A1

Advanced Corporate Practice

Assessment:

100% Final Written Examination

Elective A2

Intellectual Property Law Practice

Assessment:

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written assignment 30%

Final written examination 70%

Elective A3

The Law and Practice of Arbitration

Assessment:

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written assignment 20%

Final written examination – 80%

Category B Electives

Elective B1

Admiralty Practice

Assessment:

Final Written Examination – 100%

Elective B2

Wills, Probate & Administration

Assessment:

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written assignment 30%

Final written examination 70%

Elective B3

Mediation Skills

Assessment:

Practical assessment: Role Play – 70% Written assessment – 30%

Results of Assignments and/or Continuous Assessment and /or Practical Assessment will also be considered with the performance in any final written Examination in awarding a Pass , Fail or Distinction grade to the student for that subject.

Students must pass each subject .

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(iii) Professional Skills

Through the subjects Professional Skills, students will practice a vaiety of the generic skills critical in the practice of any area of law

(a)

advocacy skills;

(b)

drafting skills;

(c)

negotiation skills;

(d)

mediation advocacy skills; and

(e)

client interviewing skills.

For Drafting, students will be required to prepare drafts and bring them to the class. Instructors may wish to see each draft at the beginning of each session and go through them point by point or paragraph by paragraph.

The Practical Training Exercises are written exercises that appear very much like a brief, though each has instructions to students attached, to explain what to prepare and how long it should take. These exercises are made available well in advance of the classes to which they relate.

This year, the Law Society of Singapore will again conduct the advocacy training (practical exercise) for the Course. The Law Society will provide lectures on formulation of case theory, presentation of legal argument (for interlocutory applications, closing submissions and mitigationpleas), examinationinchief and crossexamination. Each student will attend a one day workshop involving hands on practice and coaching, followed by a halfday “reinforcement” workshop. Students will be videotaped during performance. Immediately after performance, their performance will be reviewed within the group. After that, there is an individual review of the performance as videotaped.

Lectures on Negotiation, Mediation Adcocacy and Client Interviewing the ensuing practice class will help students to improve their skills in negotiation, decision making, problemsolving, positive interviewing skills and equip students with the ability to keep refining those skills in the future.

Drafting classes will similarly be conducted in as practical and realistic a manner as possible, exposing students to the demands of drafting different documents in various areas of practice.

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(iv) Special Lectures

(a)

Pro Bono Opportunites for Young Practitioners;

(b)

Introduction to E Discovery;

(c)

Legal Aid Bureau;

(d)

Revenue Practice;

(e)

Legal Technology 1 Exploring LawNet! in LawNet Training Centre:

Electronic Filing System (EFS)

Advanced Word Functions

Document Assembly/Processing Tools

4. ASSESSMENTS AND ASSIGNMENTS

FILE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (FMS)

The File Management System (FMS) was introduced in 2003. As part of their training in legal practice, students will be required to conduct a matter by managing a file during the Course applying knowledge gained from the lectures and tutorials. The file will cover a wide range of areas of civil practice and present the usual legal and practical problems found in real matters.

The aim of FMS is to enable the students to put their learning into practice by running a realistic file in the area. Having had instruction in practice in that area, the student is given instructions and is asked to handle the application, case or transaction as it would be handled in practice.

Each student will be assigned to a Mentor, who will monitor the student’s progress through the Course and to whom the student is directly responsible. The FMS is an assessable component of Civil Procedure.

Assessment of the file is carried out in the following ways:

(a)

All correspondence are checked and approved.

(b)

Major documents are checked.

(c)

The student is assessed on his/her preparation and performance and must achieve a satisfactory standard.

(d)

The file is assessed at the end to ensure that the case or matter has been managed professionally, thoroughly and with attention to detail, with all

1 Training will be conducted at the Singapore Academy of Law.

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appropriate steps covered within the relevant timeframe and also that the file is complete and the filing accurate.

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CASE MANAGEMENT (CPCM)

Criminal Procedure Case Management (CPCM) was introduced in 2004. The emphasis is on Problem Solving, in order to effectively develop and evaluate strategies for solving a problem or accomplishing an objective presented by a client who has employed the services of a lawyer. A lawyer should be familiar with the skills and concepts involved in problem solving, identifying and diagnosing a problem, generating alternative solutions and strategies, developing a plan of action, implementing the plan and keeping the planning process open to new information and ideas.

PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

No amount of external regulation of professional practice will serve as an adequate substitute for personal and professional values and standards that lawyers should internalise from their earliest stages of their education and training.

Students are best motivated and can acquire understanding by working through particular fact situations which occur in the context of what lawyers do.

Students need to understand the nature of professionalism, the fiduciary obligations of professional lawyers to the Courts, their clients (e.g. conflicts of interest, confidentiality etc), and to third parties, as well as the wider commitments to values such as the rule of law.

Since 2005, the Board introduced a Case Study which students will be required to analyze and give their opinion. This forms 30% of the overall grade for Professional Responsibility.

For the Professional Responsibility Examination, Section A comprises 50 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) similar to the New York Bar Examination 2 . Rather than commit to memory ethical principles, it was decided that it made more sense if students were able to apply what they had learnt to a variety of situations. The answers provided are very close to each other. Students are required to choose the correct or best answer.

2 This format is also used in the Bar Vocational Courses conducted by the institutions in the UK, particularly the Inns of Court, School of Law.

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Attendance will be taken at the lectures for Professional Responsibility. Please refer to the Code of Conduct for more details.

REAl ESTATE PRACTICE

Conveyancing is a subject not usually taught at universities, so students must be informed as to both theory and practice.

Students will be required to do assignments related to tutorials. These will be assessed. The assignments linked to each tutorial follow the various stages transaction of a real estate property though the conveyancing process.

CORPORATE & COMMERCIAL PRACTICE

In line with the principles underlying Course, the Board in 2007 introduced a Case Study which will be assessed, forming 30% of the overall grade for Corporate & Commercial Practice.

FAMILY LAW PRACTICE & WILLS, PROBATE & ADMINISTRATION PRACTICE

This year, Family Law Practice and Wills, Probate and Administration Practice have been distinguished as separate subjects in order to to give students greater and more indepth exposure to the practical aspects of both subjects.

5. APPLICATION & REGISTRATION FOR THE COURSE

(i)

Ther online applications for the 2011 Course (13 July 2011 to 10 December 2011) commenced in April 2011.

(iii)

The fee for the 2011 Course is S$6,420.00 (inclusive 7% GST) for Singapore Citizens, S$7,490.00 (inclusive of 7% GST) for Singapore Permanent Residents and S$9,095.00 (inclusive of 7% GST) for Foreigners who are not Permanent Residents.

(iii)

Application were submitted online at the Institute’s webpage with the necessary supporting documents

6. LEGAL TECHONOLOGY

The Supreme Court introduced an electronic filing system (EFS) for writ actions and chambers applications in March 1998. It is now mandatory.

The Singapore Academy of Law (Academy) has set up a LawNet Training Centre at great expense to train all advocates and solicitors on the use of EFS.

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Accordingly, the Institute has included EFS as a compulsory practical skill. It consists of a short introductory lecture/demo and students will undergo training in batches.

Exploring LawNet! in LawNet Training Centre will cover appreciation of LawNet, EFS and students will also be required to undertakes searcned during the FMSEFS Research Sessions.

8. LEGAL WORKBENCH

LawNet introduced the Legal Workbench (LW) in February 1998. The LW is an internetbased service for conducting legal research electronically.

All students will be given access to the LW from 13 July 2011 to 10 December 2011. Passwords will be distributed on the day of registration i.e. 13 July 2011.

9. TEA & TALK SESSION

The primary purpose of the Tea & Talk Sessions is to provide opportunities for students specifically:

(i)

to meet and get to know Senior Counsels and other experienced advocates and solicitors from law practices other than those in which they are serving their practice training period;

(ii)

to learn from them at first hand their experiences at the Bar;

(iii)

to exchange views with the senior lawyers; and

(iv)

to maintain the high standards and traditions of the Bar in enhancing the rule of law in Singapore.

Informal teas will be preceded by an address by specially selected distinguished speakers and personalities on a subject of public interest or of parochial interest to students. The purpose of these talks is to keep students abreast of developments in public and professional affairs as well as to stimulate their interest in the subjects.

Each student must attend 1 out of 4 sessions. Students will be allotted the days when they are required to attend. The dates and times each session is incorporated into the timetable. Mutual swapping of dates is not allowed. Swapping is only allowed with the prior written consent of the Director.

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10. PRO BONO ENGAGEMENTS WITH CLAS

Emphasis has been added to the Course to encourage students to undertake some aspect of pro bono work. This aligns with the call from the Courts for more lawyers to undertake pro bono services in their practice. As such, it is a component of the curriculum of the Course. For this purpose, pro bono attachments with the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS) have been arranged. Three students per session (3 hours each) will be attached to the CLAS office to attend to public enquires under the supervision of its legally trained staff.

Students who have undergone or served a structured pro bono or community engagement (which allowed them to render legal service to the general public without remuneration) will NOT need to undertake the attachment with CLAS. Students from the Law Faculties of NUS and SMU have community service or pro bono action modules incorporated into their LL.B programmes and are exempted from this module. Students from foreign approved universities or other programmes may also seek to be exempted from this curriculum requirement if they have undertaken a similar engagement in their undergraduate programme. Applications for exemptions from pro bono attachments with CLAS must be made in writing, supported by proof, to Senior Director, Bar Admissions and Examinations (Part B).

These sessions will provide opportunities under proper legal supervision for the critical analysis of legal principles and skills and of the processes by which they are applied, in the context of a legal service which endeavours to meet the needs of the community.

The programme will also enable students to develop their practical skills and provides training in lawyering skills involving inter personal relations, such as interviewing, counselling, drafting, negotiations and advocacy. Under the guidance of volunteer lawyers, students will be motivated to learn and reflect on what they are doing.

11. EXAMINATIONS

Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations will be held at the end of the Course 3 . Students will be required to pass in each subject. If necessary, a Supplementary Examination, either in written examination or by viva voce will be conducted in January or February 2012.

3 Students will be notified of the venue, date and time of the Part B examinations at a later date.

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12. ADVICE TO STUDENTS

(i)

Students are recommended to familiarize themselves with the frequently used textbooks and reference books, if possible purchasing their own and keeping them notedup.

(ii)

Reference Material folders for each subject containing reading and reference materials, Specimen Files raising extended practical problems, will be provided free of charge to registered students. Students should begin reading these material before the Course commences. These are practical materials that serve slightly different purposes for different parts of the Course. In some areas they provide background reading, and in other areas they form the basis of practical classes.

(iii)

Syllabus/Reading Lists are uploaded for every subject so that students taking that subject will know the parameters of the subject and what may be examinable.

(iv)

Statutes. It is essential that students (especially if returning from studies overseas and if unacquainted with the Singapore Legal system) should quickly familiarize themselves with the parts of Singapore legislation relevant to the Course. A list of prescribed statutes will be released by 6 July 2011 via the Student Portal. Students should have available the most recent copies of the following statutes and keep them updated as and when amended by the authorities during the Course.

(v)

Publications. Students may purchase copies of publications from the Law Society of Singapore at a special student price.

(vi)

Precedents . Students are advised to start building up their own collection of precedents, notes of procedures and similar materials and to keep them properly indexed as they will provide valuable help in the early stages of practice.

(vii)

Periodicals . Students should start reading the professional law journals, such as the Singapore Law Reports, the Singapore Academy of Law Journals and the Law Gazette, regularly. There is a wealth of material in such journals about the legal profession and legal practice. If possible, textbooks should be notedup from them.

(viii)

Court Visits. Students should use every opportunity to visit the courts in the Subordinate Courts complex, the Family Courts and the High Court to listen to cases, and, whenever possible, to discuss them with the practitioners involved in them.

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(ix)

Students should do their best to work out their own solutions to problems and exercises by research in the library and by reference to standard textbooks of precedents.

Learning by working over the problem for oneself is often more valuable than being led to or given an answer. It is particularly important in the practical exercises on court skills that students should have prepared their cases to the point that when they attend the practice classes they could, when called upon, stand up and make their own presentation there and then. Only by having thought through the case to a clear awareness of the problems and the possible answers will students get the best value from the classes.

(x)

Students should practice drafting letters, pleadings, documents, etc as much as they can. Blind, unintelligent copying from precedents without an understanding of the way in which precedents have to be approached and amended as necessary merely deprives the student of an opportunity of learning how to do it properly. Students should also note the prohibition against copying in the Code of Conduct.

(xi)

A very substantial part of the skills learning and the practice of those skills take place in the context of the Advocacy Classes. Practice papers are made available well in advance of the relevant class. Each practice paper has a sheet of “Instructions for Students”, which will tell the students exactly what they are required to do for the exercise, and which may give them advice and guidance on how to prepare. Always read these instructions carefully before starting the exercise. The following general principles apply to all practice classes:

(a)

The focus on each exercise is SKILL. Students should of course use the law accurately but many exercises will not require a detailed discussion of specific legal issues.

(b)

The exercises are designed to teach thorough preparation, practice and experience, not just through reading and experience.

(c)

There is no single “right” way to perform an exercise.

(d)

The classes are carefully structured to help students develop their skill in each area.

(e)

The classes are designed to cover a variety of areas and situations that the students should experience before they go into practice thus the students should try to get the most they can out of each exercise.

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(xii)

In some exercises students will be called upon to take part in role playing in simulated exercises e.g. interviewing, mediation, mock trials etc. Some find this difficult and embarrassing; many find it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It provides a unique opportunity for young lawyers to learn what it feels like to be on the other side of the lawyer’s desk. Students will gain most from these exercises if they prepare thoroughly for them and put all their ability into them.

(xiii)

Instructors have been asked to make their comments on students’ work and performance as constructive as possible. Teachers and students alike will be participating in a learning situation and if the student is likely to be nervous or afraid he will make a fool of himself etc, it is better that these difficulties should arise in a controlled learning situation where no harm is done and students may learn how to cope with the problem and how to improve their performance. Comments will be friendly and constructive and intended to help. Students should accept such comments in that light and as being in their own interest. There can be no “loss of face” in learning in this way with the proper attitude.

(xiv)

During the Course, student will come into contact with many members of the profession who will willingly place their time, knowledge and experience at the disposal of aspiring members of the Bar. Students should make the best use of the opportunity to learn from them by seeking their advice and discussing problems with them. They should, however, remember that they will obtain assistance most easily from other lawyers and from the members of the judiciary by learning from the outset to approach them with due respect, tact and courtesy at all stages.

(xv)

Learning to be a lawyer is not only a matter of knowing the law and being able to apply it to legal problems, but also learning how to deal with factual situations (as much of a young lawyer’s earlier cases will centre around facts), and being able to deal confidently with the procedures, forms and precedents appropriate to different legal situations. In addition, students must acquire a sense of professional responsibility, as problems of ethics and etiquette pervade the practice of law. The lawyer’s duty to the court as well as to his client must be strictly observed, and a restrained and courteous response to fellow lawyers and opponents must be adopted as the general rule.

(xvi) SMOKING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED AT THE SUPREME COURT AUDITORIUM, SUBORDINATE COURTS AND FAMILY AND JUVENILE COURT. Students are requested to note that the Supreme Court Auditorium, Subordinate Courts and Family and Juvenile Court are

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included in The Smoking (Prohibition In Certain Places) Notification (Cap 310 S3(1), 1999 Rev Ed).

(xvii) SECURITY CLEARANCE at the Family Court, Juvenile Court, Subordinate Courts and Supreme Court is strictly regulated. The following items are prohibited:

(a)

sharp metal objects e.g. pointed hair clip (> 3”), scissors, nail clipper with blade, knives

(b)

recording devices e.g. camera, tape / voice / video recorder

(c)

flammable items e.g. perfumes, sprays, lighter fluid, aerosol with spray nozzle, glass bottles, tools

Please note the time allowances to be given for the security clearance especially for a large cohort of students and during lunch time i.e. 1.00 pm to 2.00 pm.

In view of the above, the Supreme Court has designated the right hand side queue at the main entrance for students. Signage will be placed and a security staff will be positioned at the front entrance to guide students and at the same time to ensure orderliness.

Alternatively, students can also make use of the Basement 2 Parliament Linkway to access directly to the Auditorium. Students can enter the linkway via the carpark staircases from Parliament Green.

13. PRIZES AND COURSE RESULTS

Four prizes are offered on completion of the Course:

(i)

The Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par memorial prize for the best student on the Course.

(ii)

The Tan Ah Tah book prize for the best student in Professional Responsibility.

(iii)

The Law Society prize for the best student in Advocacy.

(iv)

The F.A. Chua book prize for the best student in Criminal Procedure (donated by the Attorney General’s Chambers).

(v)

The Lai Kew Chai book prize for the best student in Commercial Practice.

The amount of the book prizes depends on the amount of interest earned on the capital sums. The Course results are usually available in the month of February or earlier, in the following year. Course results will be posted on the Internet.

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14. MODERN PROFESSIONAL LEGAL EDUCATION

Professional Legal Education is aimed at two important stages of development of the professional lawyer. The first stage is the stepping stone from academic study of the law into the rough and tumble of professional life; whilst the second stage is continuing legal education after admission to sharpen the skills and knowledge gained from practical experience.

The Course and practice training period are the first stage the stepping stone. The Course is designed to carry the student away from the abstract study of legal principles. Some abstract study is involved, but this time it is directed to the necessary skills and tasks of being a practising lawyer.

The teaching strategy takes into account students’ recommendations made to the Board in previous years. The Board welcomes suggestions for improvement from all engaged on the Course; experience with the current programme will naturally have an effect on the later courses. At the end of the Course, a questionnaire is distributed to all students for their comments and suggestions.

Singapore

As far back as 1955, a report to the University of Malaya by Dato Sir Roland Braddell and Professor R G D Allen (“Scheme of Organisation and Courses in Social Studies and Law”) which substantially laid the foundation for the present Law Schools in Singapore and Malaysia recommended (at p.29) that the local undergraduate degree be followed by a practical course of six months’ duration:

“This course will be compulsory for those intending to become Advocates and Solicitors but will be opened to any other holders of a Bachelor of Laws degree who wish to take it. The present practice of reading in Chambers appears to present some difficulties;

but it would be well if those taking this course could combine with it 3 to 6 hours a week in the Chambers of an Advocate and Solicitor. There should also be attendance in the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the District Courts and the Magistrates’ Court in Singapore; and the Bench should arrange facilities for this as far as possible.

The course is intended to fit those who take it for professional life in the law and to simulate the requirements of that life. It will include:

(i)

Elementary bookkeeping and trust accounts:

(ii)

Etiquette, customs and conventions of an Advocate and Solicitor

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in his court and office practice;

(iii)

Advocacy with emphasis upon the necessity for clear enunciation;

(iv)

The drafting of Court documents;

(v)

The drafting of non Court documents;

(vi)

The revenue law (incometax, customs, death duties, stamp duty (SIC));

(vii)

Bankruptcy law and practice;

(viii)

Municipal laws and rent restructions (if any).

The teaching in (ii), (iii), (iv) and (v) should be as individual as possible and the assistance of members of the Bar, Crown and Federal Counsel should be obtained s much as possible.”

For one reason or another, this recommendation was never implemented, although a parttime Postgraduate Practical Course in Law (PLC) was run for many years. Two parttime pilot programmes were conducted in 1982 and 1983 and a fulltime threemonth course in 1984. Those programmes, though still experimental, included student suggestions and recommendations. Further evaluation and changes were no doubt necessary as the Board was resolved to improve the standard of professional legal education in Singapore. The duration of the PLC was extended to four months in 1987. In 1991, there was a major revision done to the PLC, to include more skills training. From 1994 the PLC ran for five months and included practice classes on negotiations and mediation. In 1997, Professional Accounts was removed from the PLC, in view of the amendments to the Legal Profession Act (Act).

There were further revamps Electronic Filing System (EFS), Edu Dine and Onthe Job Training were introduced to the PLC. The File Management System (FMS) was introduced to the PLC in 2003. In 2004, Problem solving was extended to Criminal Procedure. In 2005, a Case Study was introduced for Professional Responsibility and Commercial Practice. Conveyancing also has a Specimen File.

Legislative changes were made in 2009. Pupillage was replaced by a practice training period and the PLC underwent its final run in 2009 to be replaced by the Course in 2010.

Before admission to practice in Singapore, “qualified persons” as defined under the Act 4 , must serve the prescribed period of practice training period and attend such courses of instruction as may be prescribed by the Board. The Course is the prescribed instruction.

4 Read with the Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Rules.

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The Course attempts to tailor some of the more successful practice training techniques to the needs of the Singapore lawyers.

Overseas Development

England

A landmark in the professional legal education in England was the Ormrod Report. The training process was ascending to the Ormrod Report to be planned on a three stage basis:

(i)

The academic stage;

(ii)

The professional stage, comprising:

(a)

institutional training and

(b)

inhouse training; and

(iii)

Continuing education or training.

The academic stage should be taken at a University of its equivalent. The professional stage should consist partly of organised vocational training in an institutional setting and partly of practical experience in a professional setting under supervision.

The English Bar had offered three and six months’ Post Final Practical Courses for overseas students not going into pupillage in England from the early 1960s.

From 1968 onwards, the Bar Examination and Bar training were being restructured to create the Vocational or Professional Stage after the initial academic education. After an experimental course in 1969, the first full course of this kind attended by all those intending to practise at the English Bar was conducted in 1970 and the Ormrod Report in effect approved the direction the English Bar was taking to reform the content and nature of the Examination for Call to the Bar and the new Practical Training in professional skills which had been introduced. The Bar Vocational course was further extensively revised in 1978. In that year, also, the Law Society of England and Wales introduced its first vocational course for solicitors, with a revised scheme of education and training for the Law Society’s Final Examination.

The implementation of the Ormrod Report was reviewed by the Royal Commission on Legal Services (in 1979). This showed that:

(i) There was a general move throughout the British Isles to revise qualifying examinations for the branches of the profession and to conduct practice

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courses for one year after the univeristy university degree. Usually such a practice course is followed by one year of pupillage (bar) or two years of articles followed by a period of restricted practice (solicitors).

(ii)

Simulated exercises were the main vehicle of practical training.

(iii)

Practice courses relied heavily on the profession for assistance in teaching professional skills.

The Benson Report (1979)

In its review the Benson Report concluded that arrangements for law degrees were generally in keeping with the academic stage envisaged by Ormrod, and saw the restriction of topics covered in the graduate CPE to the six core subjects (as compared with Ormrod’s recommendation for eight subjects) as reasonable in order to enable the course to be completed in a year. It recommended that matters be kept under review.

On the vocational stage the Benson Report reviewed a range of advantages to common vocational education prior to specialised inservice training. It saw the existence of separate arrangements as a substantial barrier to common arrangements but went on to recommend simply “that on any future occasion when the present systems of training are being reviewed, the opportunity should be taken to assimilate them into a single system of vocational training”.

Other recommendations of the Benson Report included support for the teaching of social welfare law and company law at one or both stages of education, and a range of suggestions for the review and improvement of the Inn’s dining arrangements. The report recommended numerous system improvements to enhance inservice training through both articles and pupillage. The Committee’s views on articles went beyond the Law Society’s developments and an outline alternative model was set out, replacing articles by a two year vocational course including a period of placement work experience.

The Report suggested that programmes of continuing education should be developed further by both branches of the profession and that the introduction of an obligatory system, already being discussed by the Law Society, should be kept under review.

The Marre Report (1988)

The Marre Report expressed concerns about perceived inadequacies in the academic stage experience of students entering the vocational stage, referring to the need for better development of students’ intellectual and analytical powers, written and oral communication skills, and abilities in legal research. The

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Committee had concluded that the concept of core subjects should be retained and that consideration be given to teaching trusts and land law as a composite subject. The Committee endorsed the decision already taken by the profession to establish a reconstituted CPE Board providing a common route for non law graduates. Taking into account the rapid growth of the College of Law and the Inns of Court School of Law and wider concerns about the funding of higher education the Committee concluded that the academic stage and vocational stage should not be combined to form a four year university or polytechnic course.

On the vocational stage the Marre Committee gave detailed consideration to the proposal for common vocational training, and while recognising that there were arguments in favour, the majority indicated that it was considered imprudent to make any positive recommendation without having evidence about a possible scheme and its implications. It was recommended that a joint Legal Education Council (proposed to replace the former Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Legal Education) should give the highest priority to investigating the possibility of a common system of vocational training. The committee endorsed the revision of the Bar’s vocational course and recommended that the Law Society should consider criticisms of the Solicitor’s Final Course in its review of arrangements in progress.

The Marre Report reviewed inservice training confirming that there was no practical alternative to pupillage, or better method of practical training for solicitors than articles. The monitoring system for articles introduced by the Law Society in 1985/6 was seen as effective, and the Bar was encouraged to implement as soon as possible a central systems of monitoring to influence the content and quality of pupillage.

The Courts and Legal Services Act 1990

The Act followed a Green Paper on “The Work and Organisation of the Legal Profession” (Cmnd 570) of January 1989, and a White Paper “Legal Services: A Framework for the Future” (Cmnd 740) of July 1989. The Green Paper devoted a chapter and an annex to legal education. In addition to consideration of the growth of specialisation the Paper raised questions about the appropriateness of tuition at the academic stage reflecting the increasing importance of financial regulation and of the European Community. In the case of the vocational stage it was made clear that “The Government agrees with the views expressed in the Ormrod, Benson and Marre reports that there are strong arguments in favour of a common system of vocational training to cover the whole legal profession”.

The 1990 Act established the present Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct. The former Advisory Committee has been

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established as a result of recommendations by the Ormrod Report, and had been the subject of proposals for change by both the Benson and Marre Reports.

In 1989, following a further revision the Vocational Stage could be completed either:

(i)

by completing the Vocational Course provided by the Council of Legal Education at the Inns o