Admission to the Singapore Bar

Practice Training Period

Service of a practice training period is a requirement for admission as an advocate and solicitor. It is the period during which a qualified person is required to receive supervised training in relation to the practice of Singapore law.

The requirements relating to the practice training period are set out in Part IV of the Legal Profession (Admission) Rules 2011.

 
 

Approval to serve Practice Training Period

 

If a qualified person is required to serve a practice training period, he must obtain approval of the Institute of the manner in which he is to serve his practice training period.

To obtain the Institute’s approval, the qualified person must send to the Institute’s Bar Admissions and Examinations (Part B) Office a written request by way of a letter (NOT an email) stating:

      1. The proposed date of commencement of the practice training period; and

      2. How he intends to serve his practice training period, that is:

        1. Under a practice training contract with a Singapore law practice, specifying the name and address of the Singapore law practice and the name of the supervising solicitor,

        2. Through working as a Legal Service Officer, specifying his organization, department and appointment, or

        3. Through working under the supervision of a qualifying relevant legal officer, specifying the name, appointment and address of that officer.

In the course of securing a training contract, please be mindful of the Guidance Note 2013, para 11 issued by the Law Society of Singapore. Click here to view.

 

Requirements and Duration

 

A qualified person may serve his practice training period by receiving supervised training in relation to the practice of Singapore law under a practice training contract with a Singapore law practice, or through working as a Legal Service Officer, or under the supervision of a qualifying relevant legal officer.

In general, a qualified person must have attended the Preparatory Course leading to Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations ("the Course") and have sat for the Part B Examinations before he may serve his practice training period.

This does not apply to a qualified person who:

  1. became a qualified person before 9 October 2009, or

  2. became a qualified person under rule 6(c), 7(c), 8(1)(iii), (2)(iii) or (3)(ii)(B), 9(1)(b)(ii), (2)(b)(ii) or (2A)(b)(ii) or 9A(1)(c)(ii) of the Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Rules, and has either completed his relevant legal training before passing Part A of the Singapore Bar Examinations or has been exempted from relevant legal training, or

  3. is able to complete his practice training period before the commencement of the Course, or

  4. is serving his practice training period through working as a Legal Service Officer or under the supervision of a qualifying relevant legal officer.

The duration of the practice training period is 6 months.

However, if a qualified person receives supervised training through working as a Legal Service Officer or through working under the supervision of a qualifying relevant legal officer, 6 months of such supervised training will only count as 1 month of his practice training period. Therefore if a qualified person serves his entire practice training period through working as a Legal Service Officer or through working under the supervision of a qualifying relevant legal officer, the duration of the training period is 36 months.

A person who became a qualified person on or after 9 October 2009 and serves his practice training period under a practice training contract must complete his service of his practice training period within a continuous period of 8 months.

However, if a person who became a qualified person on or after 9 October 2009 serves his practice training period or any part thereof through working as a Legal Service Officer or under the supervision of a qualifying relevant legal officer, he must complete his service of his practice training period within a continuous period of 48 months.

Rules 16(1) and 17(1) & (2) of the Legal Profession (Admission) Rules 2011 do not apply to a person who became a qualified person before 9 October 2009.

A candidate attending the Course may not serve his practice training period concurrently.

A qualified person who is serving his practice training period may not hold any office or engage in any employment, whether full-time or part-time, during his practice training period without the written permission of the Institute. This prohibition does not apply to service as a Legal Service Officer or any other relevant legal officer or to service as an Assistant Public Prosecutor in the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

The Minister has power to exempt a qualified person from any of the requirements under Section 13(1)(c), (d) or (e) and any rules made under Section 10(2)(a), (b), (c) or (d) of the Legal Profession Act (Cap.161).

 
 

Practice Training Contracts

 

A practice training contract is a formal training arrangement between a qualified person and a Singapore law practice, pursuant to which the qualified person receives, and the Singapore law practice provides, supervised training in relation to the practice of Singapore law.

The requirements relating to practice training contracts are set out in Part V of the Legal Profession (Admission) Rules 2011. A qualified person who is serving his practice training period is called a practice trainee.

The solicitor who is responsible for the supervision of the practice trainee under a practice training contract is called a supervising solicitor.

A supervising solicitor must be in active practice in a Singapore law practice and must have in force a practising certificate for at least 5 of the 7 years immediately before the commencement of his supervision of the practice trainee.

With effect from 15 December 2014: A supervising solicitor of less than 12 years’ standing may supervise up to 2 practice trainees at any one time. A supervising solicitor of not less than 12 years’ standing may supervise up to 4 practice trainees at any one time.

There is no prescribed form of practice training contract. If a Singapore law practice intends to take in practice trainees, it must publish details of the supervised training that it intends to provide on its website (if any) or on such other Internet website as the Institute may specify.

A supervising solicitor is responsible for ensuring that the practice trainee whom he supervises:

  1. receives adequate training during the practice training period in matters specified by the Institute, including matters relating to professional responsibility, etiquette and conduct,

  2. is exposed to 2 or more areas of practice selected from the following areas of practice and from such other areas of practice as the Institute may approve on application by the supervising solicitor:

    1. civil litigation;

    2. criminal litigation;

    3. corporate practice;

    4. conveyancing practice; and

  3. attends during the practice training period, such courses, workshops and programmes as the Institute may specify.

Download the guidelines issued by the Institute pursuant to the Legal Profession (Admission) Rules 2011 here:

The Singapore law practice must ensure that the practice trainee is supervised by a supervising solicitor who is in active practice in the Singapore law practice, that the practice trainee is based in Singapore and that the supervising solicitor performs his responsibilities.

If a Singapore law practice does not have the expertise or resources to provide the practice trainee with exposure to an area of practice referred to in the Legal Profession (Admission) Rules 2011, the Singapore law practice may arrange for the practice trainee to receive that exposure in another Singapore law practice. During the period of exposure in another Singapore law practice, the practice trainee is deemed to be supervised by his supervising solicitor.

 

Registration of Practice Training Contracts

 

A Singapore law practice which provides a practice trainee with supervised training under a practice training contract must register with the Institute every practice training contract and the particulars of the practice trainee and his supervising solicitor.

When registering a practice training contract with the Institute, a Singapore law practice must:

  1. declare to the Institute the number of solicitors in the Singapore law practice who are qualified to be supervising solicitors on the date of commencement of the supervised training under the practice training contract,

  2. confirm that the supervising solicitor complies with requirements set out in Rule 18(1) of the Legal Profession (Admission) Rules 2011, and

  3. in cases where a supervising solicitor takes on 3 or 4 practice trainees, confirm that that particular supervising solicitor is of not less than 12 years’ standing.

Click here for sample of letter to register practice training contracts - Single.

Click here for sample of letter to register practice training contracts - Group.

 

Calculation of the Practice Training Period

 

The commencement date of the practice training period is stated in the Institute’s letter approving the manner of service of practice training period under Rule 24(1)(d) of the Legal Profession (Admission) Rules 2011.

The following apply when computing the statutory 6 months of practice training period under a practice training contract:

  1. The commencement date cannot be a Saturday, Sunday or Public Holiday.

  2. Holidays or non-working days declared by Singapore law practices cannot be counted in the computation of the practice training period.

  3. A break in the practice training period will be excluded from the computation of the practice training period. A break during the practice training period occurs when a practice trainee is not available to serve his practice training period. Examples of a break are when the practice trainee takes leave such as vacation leave, marriage leave, medical leave or sick leave.

  4. Subject to (e), (f) and (g) below, Saturdays and Sundays are taken into account when computing practice training period even if a break took place on a Friday or Monday.

  5. When there is a break during the practice training period due to a change in supervising solicitor, law practice or practice training contract, the Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday immediately before or after the break will not be taken into account for the calculation of practice training period.

  6. The last day of the practice training period cannot be a Saturday, Sunday or Public Holiday.

  7. Any day taken as leave during practice training period will have to be made up at the end of the practice training period, that is, the number of days of leave taken will be added to, and will extend the end date of, the practice training period by an equivalent number of working days. When determining the end date of practice training period due to making up for leave taken, Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays cannot be counted. For example, if 2 days of leave were taken, then the practice training period will end 2 working days later than it would have if the 2 days of leave had not been taken. This applies similarly to days declared by law practices as a holiday or non-working day when that day is not a gazetted public holiday. For the avoidance of doubt, any leave taken in lieu of a Saturday that was a gazetted public holiday will not be counted as leave.

The following apply when computing practice training period through working as a Legal Service Officer or working under the supervision of a relevant legal officer (as referred to in Rule 14 of the Legal Profession (Admission) Rules 2011:

  1. The commencement date cannot be a Saturday, Sunday or Public Holiday.

  2. A break in the practice training period will be excluded from the computation of the practice training period. A break during the practice training period occurs when a practice trainee is not available to serve his practice training period. Examples of a break are when the practice trainee takes any unpaid leave such as no-pay leave or study leave.

  3. Any period during which the practice trainee takes half-pay leave will be discounted by 50%. For example, if a practice trainee takes 2 months’ leave at half-pay, those 2 months will only count as one month of practice training period.

  4. Subject to (e), (f) and (g) below, Saturdays and Sundays are taken into account when computing practice training period even if a break took place on a Friday or Monday.

  5. When there is a break during the practice training period due to the practice trainee taking unpaid leave, any Saturday, Sunday or Public Holiday immediately before, during or after the break for which the practice trainee is not paid will not be taken into account for the calculation of practice training period.

  6. The last day of the practice training period cannot be a Saturday, Sunday or Public Holiday.

  7. Any day, week or month taken as unpaid leave during practice training period will have to be made up at the end of the practice training period, that is, the number of days, weeks or months of unpaid leave taken will be added to, and will extend the end date of, the practice training period by an equivalent duration, in the case of days by the equivalent number of working days, and in the case of weeks and months by an equivalent number of weeks or months, as if the unpaid leave had not been taken.

Last Updated: 19 August 2015