Hi all,

I have recently graduated from UOL International Programmes with an LL.B (2nd Class Honours - Lower) with a Qualifying Law Degree (QLD), which qualifies me to pursue my Bar qualifications in the UK.

However, I have no intention to do just that, yet.

I am a Singaporean and am residing in Singapore and as far as the regulations for the recognised of 'qualified' persons under the Legal Profession Act is concerned, my LL.B is no longer recognised as compared to the past. I had not looked into this before taking up this course and I had no intentions to practise law back then. However, my mentality has changed because I had realised that it is much better to attain qualifications to practise than not to have any at all.

Currently, I am employed as a Legal Counsel in a Government-linked Company in Singapore and am also pursuing my Master of Laws with the UOL.

Hence, to increase market competitiveness, I would like to pursue my bar qualifications through the easiest and fastest route. My intention is merely to get admitted to practise in a foreign jurisdiction (whether or not I apply for a practising certificate), and then register myself as a Foreign Lawyer with the Attorney-General Chambers of Singapore. intend to pursue the Foreign Practitioner Exam (FPE) in Singapore which allows Foreign-qualified Lawyers to practise some Singapore Laws but of limited scope. This FPE is a new regulation which illustrates the flexibility and widening scope of the Singapore's Legal Profession Industry.

In this case, I would then be able to practise some Singapore Laws, compared to not having to practise at all.

On my part, I have researched and gathered some information on other bar qualifications which I may be able to pursue.

One of which would be the Australia Bar which there have been many useful discussions in other threads in this forum.
However, I am concerned with certain issues which I require some assistance.

Firstly, I have found a University in Australia which allows students to undertake the bridging course through distance learning. As my LL.B is not completely recognised, I have to fulfill the necessary academic requirements first before heading to complete the Practical Legal Course (PLC), which is the second tier of the Bar requirements.
This University has provided me useful information and based on the previous schedules, it seems that the required subjects that I will be required to take - Constitutional Law and Administrative Law, are only available in different semester, or trimester for that matter, since there will be some adjustments to the University's schedule. I have not lodged the academic form with the Legal Professional Admission Board of Australia (LPAB) to review what additional academic subjects I am required to take, however, based on research information, including this forum, it is highly likely that I will have to undertake those 2 Law subjects.

I have inquired with the University to see if I am allowed to pursue my PLC whilst pursuing the law subjects since it might stretch over a year or so (2 different semesters), however I doubt this is allowed. From what I understand, one must first fulfill the academic requirements for the bridging course and then only allowed to proceed to the PLC step.

However, if anyone has any useful information on this, do keep me in the loop. I would be very grateful. :)

Secondly, for the PLC, there are 3 tiers - Coursework, Working Experience and Continuing Profession Development. As clarified with the College of Law, I would have already satisfied the second tier. The only problem I have is with the on-campus requirement. We are now required to head down to the Australia campus to fulfill this on-campus attendance for 5 times within 15 weeks, 3 (2 of 1 week and 1 of 2 weeks) of which are the on-campus requirements and the other 2 is to sit for the examinations. This is the full-time programme via distance learning. (http://www.collaw.ac.nz/Documents/PDF%20Downloads/PLT/PLT%20Brochures/GenericTimetable_fulltimeonline0711.pdf)

As I am currently working on a full-time basis, I am afraid that this might not reflect well on my work performance, having to take time off several times. In addition, the College has also advised that it is not recommendable that students who are working on a full-time basis, to pursue the full-time study course with them. However, I am quite bend on this as I wish to complete everything ASAP, as the full-time programme only lasts to less than 4 months whereas the part-time programme requires 7.5 months (http://www.collaw.ac.nz/Documents/PDF%20Downloads/PLT/PLT%20Brochures/GenericTimetable_parttimeonline0711.pdf). The part-time programme stretches over 30 weeks in total, however, with lesser frequency of heading down to the on-campus, of 5 times, the same as the full-time programme.

This should be borne in mind that I will still have to spend some time fulfilling the first requirement for the Australia Bar - Academic requirements, before undertaking this PLC course.

I will be requesting for 2011 timetable to have a feel of the detailed timetable for both full-time and part-time programmes.

If anyone has any comments, I do gladly welcome them. :)

Thirdly, I am also looking into other jurisdictions - Malaysia and Hong Kong. However, I do not have sufficient information on them. I am still waiting for the relevant authorities to revert. Nonetheless, I have heard sayings that to pursue the Hong Kong Bar qualifications, one has to have read Evidence and Company Law as one of the subjects in their LL.B which I did not. But, how true is this?

Fourthly, just to clarify, if I were to be admitted to practise law in other jurisdictions other than UK, the law which I will be practising for my career in Singapore, would be the law in the jurisdiction I am qualified to practise, and not UK law as per my LL.B, right?

Lastly, if anyone of you have any additional information (in particular of any distance learning for the bar qualifications) which you think might be useful for my situation, please kindly do comment. As there are limited sources to seek opinions, face-to-face, I will be extremely grateful for your kind assistance. :)

Thank you and have a pleasant day ahead! :)