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The Supreme Court has officially moved the schedule of the 2015 Bar examinations to November. Photo by Karl Grobl (asiafoundation.org)

Supreme Court moves 2015 Bar to November

NovemBar it is.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday officially announced the rescheduling of the 2015 Philippine Bar examinations from October, to November this year. The announcement was coursed through the official Twitter account of the SC’s Public Information Office.

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For the past few years, the Court has been changing the schedule of the annual licensure exams for aspiring lawyers—considered to be the most difficult one in the country. For the longest time, the exams were held during the four Sundays of September at the De La Salle University-Manila campus. However, following the 2010 “Salubong” incident, which injured several examinees and well-wishers, the 2011 exams were moved to November. This was then moved to October from 2012 up to the recent 2014 exams.

According to reports, the change in the Bar schedule was made in response to the recommendation of the Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS). Further, it is widely believed that some schools, which went through a shift in their academic calendars, have intensely lobbied for the one-month deferment.

The University of the Philippines and the University of Santos Tomas—where the Bar exams were held for the past four years—have already shifted their academic calendars starting July last year. The Ateneo de Manila University is expected to follow suit, with S.Y. 2015-2016 scheduled to open in August. This is in line with efforts to synchronize its calendar with those of its institutional peers abroad.

The shift in the academic calendar has raised serious concerns among students, specifically issues pertaining to the conduct of the annual Bar Operations (BarOps). For the past years, the semestral break has been scheduled to coincide with the Bar exams season—providing students with more time to volunteer. It has been raised that the shift in the academic calendar will affect BarOps, given that the first semester will run from August to December. Further, the succeeding batches of Atenean examinees will have limited time to review for the exams, since the school year ends in May.

However, in several consultations with the student body, Dean Sedfrey Candelaria has given his assurance that the Atenean examinees will be taken care of. The one-month deferment will give both the administration and the student-volunteers more time to prepare.

The 2015 Bar Examinations Committee is chaired by SC Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, an alumna of the UP College of Law and a former Sandiganbayan Justice. The venue and other details will be announced later, as per the SC PIO advisory. P

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