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Bar Matter No.

Re: Proposed Reforms in the Bar Examinations, took effect July 15, 2004

Supreme Court en banc created Special Study Group on Bar Examination

Reforms, headed by Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) Chancellor Justice
Melencio-Herrera as Chair and retired Justice Feria and retired Justice Quiason
as members, for further safeguarding the integrity of the Bar Examinations
and make them effective tools in measuring the law curriculum and quality of
the instruction
Final Report made by the Special Study Group was referred to Committee on
Legal Education and Bar Matters (CLEBM) headed by Justice Vitug.
Proposals and comments were received from IBP, law schools, and other
personalities from Bench and Bar.
CLEBM conducted 4 regional round-table discussions with law deans, profs,
students, and members of the IBP for extensive deliberations and
consultations for recommendations at bar reforms

Bar Examination Reforms:

A. For implementation within 1 up to 2 years:
1. Initial determination by the Chair of admission to the bar exams of
2. Submission by deans of a certification that a candidate has no derogatory
3. Disqualification of a candidate after failing thrice. May be allowed to take
4th and 5th exams if he completes a 1 year refresher course. Those who
have already failed 5 times or more upon effectivity shall be allowed to
take only 1 more bar exam after refresher course
4. Disciplinary measures for improper conduct during and of bar exams
5. Disqualification of a Bar Examination Chairperson:
If an examinee is his spouse or relative within 3 rd degree
of consanguinity
An examinee as a member of his office staff, or spouse or
child of staff,
Member of governing board, faculty or admin of law
6. Desirable qualifications of Examiner:
a. membership in good standing in the Philippine Bar;
b. competence in the assigned subject;
c. a teacher of the subject or familiarity with the principles of test
d. commitment to check test papers personally and

Disqualifications of Examiners:
a. If an examinee is his or her spouse or relative within the 3 rd civil
degree of consanguinity or affinity;

b. An examinee as a member of his office staff, or spouse or child

of staff
c. being a member of the governing board, faculty or
administration of a law school
d. teaching or lecturing in any law school, institution or review
center during the particular semester following the bar
e. having any interest or involvement in any law school, bar review
center or group; and

suspension or disbarment from the practice of law or the

imposition of any other serious disciplinary sanction.


Preparation of fifty (50) main questions hand/typewritten (not

computerized) and their submission to the Chair in sealed envelope at
least forty-five (45) days before the schedule examination.


Apportionment of examination questions among the various topics

covered by the subject;


Burning and shredding of rough drafts and carbon papers used in the
preparation of questions or in any other act connected with such


Publication of names candidates admitted to take the bar



Disqualification of a candidate who obtains a grade below 50% in any



June 30 of immediate preceding year as the cut-off date for laws and
Supreme Court decisions and resolutions to be included in the bar
examinations; and


Consideration of suggested answers to bar examinations questions

prepared by the U.P. Law Center and submitted to the Chairperson.

B. For implementation within 2 5 years

1. Objective MCQs for 30-40% of total number of questions
2. Formulation of essay test questions and model answers as part of the
calibration of test papers
3. Performance testing by revising and improving essay exam
4. Designation of 2 examiners per subject depending on the number of

5. Incumbent SC Justice as Chair of tenured Board of Examiners

6. Readership panels for each subject area for subjectivity and correction of
exam booklets
7. Calibration method in correcting essay questions to correct level of test
C. For implementation within 5 years and beyond, computerization or
automation of bar exams
D. Items not covered by reso maintained (e.g. review of coverage, relative
E. For referral to the Legal Education Boards
1. Accreditation and supervision of law schools.
2. Inclusion of a subject on clinical legal education in the law curriculum,
including an apprenticeship program in the Judiciary, prosecution service, and
law offices.
3. Imposition of sanctions on law schools that fail to meet the standards as may
be prescribed by the Legal Education Board.
4. Mandatory Law School Admission Test.