Malaysia-Press Release | Implement the Common Bar Course as the Single Entry Point into the Legal Profession

Press Release | Implement the Common Bar Course as the Single Entry Point into the Legal Profession

Press Release

Implement the Common Bar Course as the Single Entry Point into the Legal Profession

We refer to the recent statement made by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law), Datuk Liew Vui Keong, that the Government is "considering the possibility of replacing the Certificate of Legal Practice ("CLP") exam with a common bar course".

The Malaysian Bar has, for over two decades, been advocating the implementation of the Common Bar Course ("CBC") as the single entry point for all law graduates (both local and foreign) into the legal profession, and the final arbiter of quality for new entrants to the legal profession.  It is our view that the CLP, in its current form, does not adequately provide the necessary knowledge and practical skills for law graduates who seek to join the legal profession.

The ultimate objective of the CBC is to raise the standards of the provision for legal services, and to ensure that all individuals seeking to enter the legal profession are subject to uniform standards of knowledge and legal skills, regardless of the origin of their undergraduate legal qualifications.

In line with this objective, all relevant stakeholders agreed, during the Focus Group on Legal Education meetings held between August 2017 and February 2018, that the CBC would be the path through which those wishing to enter the legal profession will be provided with suitable programmes for them to develop the critical skills needed to excel.

The CBC would focus, in particular, on the practical skills that need to be developed during the period of pupillage.  It is during pupillage that all persons seeking admission as advocates and solicitors of the High Court in Malaya will be required to undergo regular, supervised training and assessments that will be developed by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board, working hand in hand with the Bar Council. This will ensure that all pupils in chambers, regardless of their law firm, location, prior education or other factors, will have access to similar standards of training.

The Malaysian Bar believes that the emphasis of the CBC should not be primarily on examinations.  Rather, the CBC should be outcome-driven and focus on, amongst others, the development of critical skills, including those relating to advocacy, legal procedure in civil as well as criminal matters, arbitration and mediation, negotiation, and managing the operations of a law firm.

The Malaysian Bar believes that the CBC is crucial to ensuring that every pupil will be on a level playing field in terms of meeting the requirements and expectations of potential employers and the legal profession, and having opportunities to develop knowledge and skills to enter, practise and excel in the legal profession.  We look forward to the implementation of the CBC soon, and will play our role in facilitating a smooth transition as well as the effective conduct of the CBC, bearing in mind the best interests of the public and the legal profession in Malaysia.

George Varughese
Malaysian Bar

15 November 2018

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