SC orders 2-day bar exams

·3 min read

THE Supreme Court (SC) has issued a new order shortening the duration of the 2020-2021 Bar examinations ‘pro hac vice’ (for this occasion only) from its traditional four consecutive Sundays to only two days this January with a one day interval.

The order issued on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022 set the new schedule of the bar examination on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022 and Tuesday, Jan. 25, instead of the four Sundays—Jan. 16, 23, 30 and Feb. 6.

In a statement, the SC, upon the recommendation of Bar chairperson and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, also decided to reduce the coverage of the exams from the usual eight subjects to four sets of examinations due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of Typhoon Odette in some areas of the country.

“The Court noted that the Bar examinees for this coming Bar have reviewed for longer than all the other batches taking the Bar exams under very difficult conditions,” the SC said in a statement.

The four sets of examinations encompassing the usual eight subjects are the following: 1.) The Law Pertaining to the State and its Relationship with Its Citizens (formerly Political Law, Labor Law and Taxation Law); 2.) Criminal Law; 3.) The Law Pertaining to Private Personal and Commercial Relations (formerly Civil Law and Commercial Law); and 4.) Procedure and Professional Ethics (formerly Remedial Law, Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises).

According to the SC’s Bar Bulletin No. 31, series of 2022, bar takers will take two exams, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

All examinees who will be taking the Bar are “strongly advised” to self-quarantine starting Sunday, Jan. 9, or at least two weeks before the examinations.

They will also be required to undergo an antigen test at least 48 hours before the first examination.

Those who will test positive under the antigen test will be required to undergo a confirmatory RT-PCR test.

Those who will test positive on both will not be admitted to their testing sites.

“These changes pro hac vice seek to meet the demand for new lawyers amid the disasters plaguing the country,” the SC said.

“The Philippines has produced no new lawyer since the pandemic. But while the Bar examinations may no longer be postponed, it can be held in a way that is more humane. With these changes, the Court strikes that balance,” the SC added.

IBP Cebu City

In a statement sent to SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City Chapter president Michelle Geraldine Mendez-Palmares said they welcome the SC’s decision to reduce the coverage and revise the schedule of this year’s Bar exams.

Palmares said the SC’s update was a product of “collaborative and consultative effort” with the SC and the deans of law schools nationwide, heads of Bar sites and other stakeholders.

“The Supreme Court surely understands the plight of every Bar candidate and the state of our nation, and, in arriving at these changes in the Bar exam, it intends to hold the Bar exam to produce lawyers in a manner that is more fair and ‘humane’ to all than postponing it,” Palmares said.

“These changes are in pursuit of the higher duty of the Court to produce more lawyers who will help improve the administration of justice and enable the bar to discharge its public responsibility,” she added.

Palmares said the decentralization of the Bar examinations and the compression of subjects have been a pending proposal for years by the Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS) and the deans of law schools in Cebu.

She thanked Leonen for making both happen after taking into consideration all the proposals.

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