Applications to the Minister for Law for Exemption

By | January 10, 2017

Applications to the Minister for Law for Exemption

Under Rule 16 of the Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Rules, the Minister for Law may exempt a person from certain provisions of the “qualified person” requirements in Part II or III of the Rules, subject to such terms and conditions as the Minister may think fit to impose, and the person shall, to the extent of the exemption, be a “qualified person”.

Under Section 14 of the Legal Profession Act, the Minister for Law may, in his discretion, if he is of the opinion that a person possesses such qualification or expertise as would contribute to, promote or enhance the quality of legal services in Singapore or the economic or technological development of Singapore, approve the person as a qualified person for the purposes of the Act, subject to such conditions as the Minister may think fit to impose. The Minister for Law may also exempt individuals from Part B of the Bar Examinations and the practice training period.

Which Requirements Can I Seek an Exemption from?

Before submitting an application for exemption, it is your responsibility to read the Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Rules and the Legal Profession (Admission) Rules, or to check with the Singapore Institute of Legal Education, to ascertain the requirements from which you need an exemption.

Requirements / restrictions from which the Minister for Law may exempt a person include:

  • The requirement to be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident
  • The requirement to have a scheduled degree from a scheduled university
  • Dual or combined degrees
  • Juris Doctor degrees
  • Accelerated degrees
  • Third Class degrees (not ranked within top 70%)
  • External degrees
  • Twinning programmes
  • Part A of the Singapore Bar Examinations
  • Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations (see below)
  • Practice Training Period (see below)

However, please note that exemptions are granted sparingly. We are unable to advise you on your chances of obtaining an exemption.

If you are not eligible for admission to the Singapore Bar, you should consider alternatives for working in the legal field in Singapore.

Exemptions from Part B and the Practice Training Period

You may submit an application to the Minister for Law to be considered for an exemption from the practice training period and Part B of the Bar Examinations if you fulfil all the following requirements:
(i) You obtained an approved law degree from an approved university and you fulfil all the other “qualified person” requirements;

(ii) You are admitted to practise in a common law jurisdiction; and

(iii) You have obtained at least 2 years of “relevant legal practice or work” and/or “relevant legal training” as defined in Rule 2 of the Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Rules.

However, please note that exemptions from Part B and the practice training period are not granted automatically, even if you fulfil all the above requirements. All applications for exemption are considered case-by-case on their individual merits.

Application for Exemption Form

All applications for exemption (including repeat applications and approvals in advance of embarking on a course), must be made using the Application for Exemption Form.

Please click HERE to access the online Application for Exemption Form.

Please note:

  • It can take a few months for applications to be processed as external parties may be consulted. It is your responsibility to submit your application in a timely manner.
  • In order to complete your online application, you are also required to submit all supporting documents, in hard copy and certified as a true copy of the original document. The supporting documents should be sent via post to:
    Ministry of Law
    (Attn: Legal Industry Division)
    100 High Street
    #08-02 The Treasury
    Singapore 179434

  • Certification of supporting documents should be carried out by an independent person of recognised authority, such as the University/College Dean/Registrar, an official of an Inn of Court, a lawyer of standing or notary public, who is not your relative. A description of the certifier’s status or authority, and his/her official stamp, should be placed under the signature.
  • Your application for exemption should be submitted only when the certified-true copies of all your supporting documents are ready. We will only commence processing your application for exemption upon receipt of the certified-true copies of all requisite supporting documents. If we do not receive the certified-true copies of your supporting documents within 1 month of the date of the application, your application will be deemed to have lapsed and you will be required to submit a new application with payment of the applicable administrative fees.
  • Each application is considered case-by-case on its individual merits. We are unable to disclose the reasons why an application was successful or unsuccessful.
  • Where your application was unsuccessful, please note that repeat applications on the same facts are unlikely to produce a different result. You should consider re-applying only if there are new material facts or circumstances that demonstrate a stronger case for the particular exemption sought.
  • Please note that we receive a high volume of queries and it can take up to 14 working days (about 3 weeks) for us to reply. We will contact you if we require any further information or clarification. We will inform you of our decision by post in due course.