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6 law grads who cheated in exams withdraw applications for Bar

The Independent logo The Independent 17/8/2022 Anna Maria Romero
© The Independent Singapore

On Monday (Aug 15), six trainee lawyers who had cheated during the qualifying Bar exams in 2020 withdrew their applications to practise law. A High Court judge gave permission for the withdrawal of their Bar applications.

Five of the six communicated with each other and shared answers through WhatsApp in six of the papers, including a paper on ethics and professional responsibility. The sixth, Ms Kuek, colluded with another examinee and cheated on three of the papers. The other examinee has not been subject to any complaint. 

The six were named in a CNA report as Ms Monisha Devaraj, Mr Kushal Atul Shah, Mr Sreeraam Ravenderan, Mr Matthew Chow Jun Feng, Mr Lionel Wong Choong Yoong and Ms Lynn Kuek Yi Ting.

In April of this year, five of the trainee lawyers were granted a six-month adjournment for the Bar applications, while Ms Kuek was given a year’s adjournment.

In Singapore, for full admission to the legal profession, law graduates must pass a set of exams called Part B.

Law graduates from qualified overseas universities must also pass another conversion exam called Part A.

Those who pass must then not receive any objections to their applications from the Attorney-General (AG), Singapore Institute of Legal Education (SILE) and Law Society of Singapore (LSS).

During an earlier hearing, the AG objected that six applicants were not fit to be admitted to the Bar because they had cheated on the exam Part B.

The five individuals were required to retake the six papers, while Ms Kuek had to retake the entire Part B exam.

All six individuals have since passed the needed exams.

On Monday, the lawyer for Ms Devaraj, Mr Shah and Mr Wong — Mr Sreenivasan Narayanan said that his clients came to the realization that the six months adjournment they had been given in April was not enough to “show that the circumstances of being a fit and proper person have changed”.

More time was needed in order to address other issues that have arisen in the hearings.

Mr Sreenivasan told the court that his clients would give “deep thought” to their actions and consult with the AG, LSS and SILE, before they apply for the Bar again.

“There will be no half-baked attempts and any application will be made after deep and considered reflection,” he added.

Similar reasons were given by lawyers who represent the other trainees.

Representatives from the AG, LSS and SILE had no objections to the law trainee’s applications to withdraw from the Bar.

Justice Choo Han Teck advised the six to work as paralegals or in other similar jobs and to be mentored by someone who will be able to “testify to their suitability to reapply” to the Bar.

“Although each case will be different, (their later application for the Bar) will also depend on the testimony of your mentors and your subsequent conduct.

That would be a matter for you to consider yourselves, without me having to say what the time should be,” CNA quotes Justice Choo. /TISG

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