The Part A Bar exam is the first step for foreign law graduates to gain admission to the Bar in Singapore. You can sit for a 3-month course at NUS and then sit for the exam after that, or just sign up for the exam itself. I’ve done the latter since I won’t be able to take that much time off work to sit for the course.
To qualify to sit for the Part A exam, you need to satisfy certain requirements, primarily the fact that you need to have graduated from one of the scheduled universities (whether from the UK, Australia or the US) and with a minimum grade on your degree. The other requirement is that you need to be a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident.
If you don’t satisfy these requirements, you’ll need to apply for an exemption from the Ministry of Law and that is what I’ll next be doing, as I am not a Singapore citizen or PR, but thankfully I satisfy the other requirements. I am not sure how successful I will be in getting the exemption but I am taking this one step at the time, and putting in one application after the other.
The Part A exam will be in November and if I pass, there is normally a Part B component. This involves a practical law course as well as a compulsory pupillage (now called training contract) period. However, since I’ve been in practice in another jurisdiction for more than 2 years, I can also apply to be exempted from the Part B component. So that is going to involve another exemption application to be put in to the Ministry of Law.
Only if I get that exemption, will I then qualify to be called to the Singapore Bar, which is what I finally hope to achieve. I’m not thinking so far ahead as to whether I want to seek employment in Singapore. I am taking things one step at a time first, as at any moment, I am expecting to hit a stumbling block some where.