Nearly half of the approved UK law schools will be taken off the list of approved foreign universities recognised for admission to the Singapore Bar, after a review by the Singapore Institute of Legal Education (SILE).
There are currently 19 UK universities on the list of Overseas Scheduled Universities (OSU), but SILE recommended cutting the list down to 11. The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) has accepted the recommendation and will implement it for prospective intakes from Academic Year 2016/17 onwards.
The eight UK law schools taken off are: University of Exeter; University of Leeds; University of Leicester; University of Liverpool; School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; University of Manchester; University of Sheffield; and University of Southampton.
In total, these eight universities accounted for 30 per cent (221 out of 729) of Singaporean graduates from UK law schools in the last three years.
In a press release today (Feb 24), MinLaw said: “In implementing the revised list, transitional provisions will be put in place to ensure that Singaporean citizens and permanent residents who have secured a place before the relevant cut-off date in any of the UK OSUs omitted from the list are not adversely affected by the change.”
The SILE review follows a recommendation by the Fourth Committee on the Supply of Lawyer in 2013, which noted the burgeoning numbers of Singaporeans heading to overseas law schools and then returning to practise here. The high-powered panel proposed that the list of approved UK law schools be “reviewed and updated to better reflect the current rankings of UK law schools”.
In August last year, Law Minister K Shanmugam also warned of a possible glut in lawyers here due to the spurt in the number of Singaporeans studying law overseas.
Although the number of recognised overseas universities has remained at 35 since 2006, the total number of Singaporeans reading law in the United Kingdom has more than doubled to 1,142 between 2010 and last year, based on the MinLaw’s estimates.
In addition, there were 386 Singaporeans pursuing a law degree in Australian universities last year. The UK and Australia are the main sources of returning law graduates.