To practise law in Singapore, law graduates must be admitted to the Bar. (Representational)
Six trainee lawyers, including three of Indian origin, withdrew their applications on Monday to practise law in Singapore after they were found to have cheated in the 2020 Bar examinations, according to a media report.
The six are Monisha Devaraj, Kushal Atul Shah, Sreeraam Ravenderan, Matthew Chow Jun Feng, Lionel Wong Choong Yoong and Lynn Kuek Yi Ting.
Five of them shared answers for six exam papers through WhatsApp, while Kuek was found to have colluded with another candidate to cheat on three of the papers, Channel News Asia reported on Monday.
A High Court judge gave all six permission on Monday to withdraw their Bar applications.
To practise law in Singapore, law graduates must be admitted to the Bar by passing a set of exams known as Part B.
The Bar refers to legal professionals who have satisfied all the requirements for legal education and vocational training to be admitted as advocates and solicitors of the Singapore Court.
In April, Justice Choo Han Teck adjourned the Bar admission hearing of Kuek for a year and the hearings of the remaining five trainees for six months.
This followed a proposal from the Attorney-General that a little more time for the trainee lawyers to reflect on their ways’ errors would benefit them.
The Attorney-General had objected to the Bar applications of the six, taking the view that they lacked honesty and integrity as they cheated in the Part B exams.
Lawyer Sreenivasan Narayanan, who represented Ms Devaraj, Mr Shah and Wong, told the court that his clients realised the six-month period was insufficient for them to “show that the circumstances of being a fit and proper person have changed”.
He said they needed time to address issues raised in Justice Choo’s earlier judgment, as well as the guidance given by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon in another withdrawal application by a trainee lawyer who cheated, Leon Tay Quan Li.
Mr Narayanan told Justice Choo that the three would give “deep thought” to what they have done and consult the other stakeholders of the Bar admissions process before making any future applications.
These stakeholders are the Attorney-General, the Law Society and the Singapore Institute of Legal Education (SILE).
“There will be no half-baked attempts and any application will be made after deep and considered reflection,” Mr Narayanan was quoted as saying.
Lawyers representing the three other trainees echoed Mr Narayanan’s submissions.
Justice Choo allowed the withdrawals after representatives of the Attorney-General, Law Society and SILE did not object to them.
He said that the trainee lawyers should find work as paralegals or similar roles in the legal profession, so that “a respected mentor may testify to their suitability to reapply” to the Bar.
He did not set a time for the trainee lawyers to reapply, saying, “Although each case will be different, it will also depend on the testimony of your mentors and your subsequent conduct.”
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