bar exams

Supreme Court reduces 2020-2021 Bar Exams duration, coverage
Supreme Court reduces 2020-2021 Bar Exams duration, coverage

ASPIRING LAWYERS. Examinees about to take the Bar Examinations at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila on November 24, 2019.


The 2020-2021 Bar Examinations will now be held on January 23 and 25, with four sets of exams encompassing the usual eight subjects

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) decided to reduce the duration and coverage of the 2020-2021 Bar Examinations as COVID-19 cases rise and areas badly hit by Typhoon Odette (Rai) have yet to fully recover.

In a resolution approved on Tuesday, January 4, the SC said there will only be two testing dates – January 23 and January 25 – instead of four.

It previously moved the November 2021 Bar Exams to January 16, 23, 30, and February 6, 2022.

The examinees will now be taking four sets of exams, encompassing the usual eight subjects:

  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)

The first two sets of exams will be taken on January 23, and the last two sets on January 25.

The scope of each set is detailed in Bar Bulletin No. 31.

“These changes pro hac vice (for this occasion) seek to meet the demand for new lawyers amid the disasters plaguing the  country,” the SC said.

“The Philippines has produced no new lawyer since the pandemic. 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.”

The SC on Tuesday advised examinees to self-quarantine starting Sunday, January 9, or at least two weeks before the Bar Exams.

Examinees will undergo an antigen test at least 48 hours before the first exam. If this test turns out positive, a confirmatory RT-PCR test will be done. Those whose RT-PCR results are also positive will not be admitted to testing sites. 

For the first time in history, the Bar Exams will be digital and taken at local testing sites across the country, instead of handwritten exams taken at a university in Manila. –