2020/21 Bar Exams Will Be Cut Short Due to COVID Situation

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo/s: Mike Gonzales / Wikimedia Commons

The 2020/21 Bar Examinations will be shortened to two dates and will have a reduced coverage, the Supreme Court said Tuesday, in consideration of the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.

The examinations with the revised coverage will be held on Jan. 23 and 25, according a statement issued by the high court. Previously, the 2020/21 Bar was set for Jan. 16, 23, 30, and Feb. 6 after being postponed for the past two years.

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Examinees will take four sets of examinations covering the usual eight subjects taken during the Bar exams, as follows:

  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)
  4. Procedure and Professional Ethics (formerly Remedial Law, Legal Ethics, and Practical Exercises)

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who chairs the 2020/21 Bar exams, will release Bar Bulletin No. 31, s. 2022 providing for the revised coverage for each examination.

The Supreme Court advised Bar examinees to undergo self-quarantine starting Jan. 9, or at least two weeks before the examination.

"These changes pro hac vice (for this time only) seek to meet the demand for new lawyers amid the disasters plaguing the country. The Philippines has produced no new lawyer since the pandemic," the court said.

"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," it added.

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The upcoming Bar Exams will test two batches of graduates --- those from 2020 and 2021 --- since last year's exams were also canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Supreme Court earlier announced that due to the "extraordinary circumstances" posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020/21 Bar Exams would break away from the tradition of announcing top 10 passers and would instead recognize all examinees who will record "exemplary performance."

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