bar exams

Shari’ah Bar exams results will be released in July, oath-taking in August

Jairo Bolledo

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Shari’ah Bar exams results will be released in July, oath-taking in August

SHARI'AH. A photo during the 2024 Shari'ah Bar Examinations.

Supreme Court

For this year's edition, more than half of the total number of examinees are women

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) announced that the results of the 2024 Shari’ah Bar Examinations will be released in less than three months.

“The results will be announced in July, and the oath-taking will be scheduled in August,” SC Associate Justice Maria Filomena Singh, who chaired this year’s Shari’ah Bar, told reporters in a press conference on Thursday, May 2.

The Shari’ah Bar, different from the regular Bar Exams for aspiring lawyers, is the professional licensure examination to practice Islamic law under Shari’ah courts.

In 1977, Presidential Decree No. 1083 created Shari’ah courts in the Philippines and put them under the SC’s administrative supervision.

These courts resolve “legal conflicts involving divorce, property or real estate disputes, child support, dowry questions, determination of degrees of affinity or consanguinity, determination of paternity, and filiation, and similar customary cases.”

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What you need to know about Shari’ah Bar exams

What you need to know about Shari’ah Bar exams

This year’s edition was held on April 28 and May 2 at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU), with 853 applicants – 552 of which were women – finishing the examinations.

The number of this year’s examinees was the largest in Shari’ah Bar’s history since the exams first took place in 1983, according to the SC.

Associate Justice Singh attributed the increase to a lot of factors.

“One is awareness also. More people are hearing that there is surely a bar examination upcoming because of all the pressers that we are releasing through the PIO (Public Information Office),” the 2024 Shari’ah Bar chair told reporters.

“The other thing is, I think major, that we put a testing center in Davao. Because most of them come from that part of the country. And so it was, it definitely is more convenient for them, less expensive, they do not have to fly to Manila, and their families are also there, right? If you’re undertaking something as big as this, you want your support system to be there,” she added.

Singh also said the Shari’ah Bar will now be held annually, instead of every other year. This year’s edition also saw a sitting SC justice chair the exams for the first time.

In 2022, the last time the tests were held, 156 out of 532 applicants passed the exams, accounting for 29.66% of the total. The passing grade was lowered to 70% from 75% since 2020.

The year 2018 saw the highest number of passers with 53.50% or 191 out of 357 examinees. The average passing rate from 1983 to 2022 is around 29%.

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Closer to Filipinos overseas

Since the exams can only be taken in the Philippines, the Supreme Court provided financial assistance – covering airfare and accommodation – to qualified overseas Filipino workers (OFW), some of who came all the way from Saudi Arabia.

Associate Justice Singh said the OFWs from the Middle East wrote a letter asking the High Court to allow them take the exams.

She added that the SC plans to establish testing sites in Philippine embassies abroad, particularly in the Middle East, because of the request from OFWs living in that part of the world.

Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao, who once chaired the exams, said they also plan to establish a global testing center in Saudi Arabia so OFWs from nearby countries can take the Shari’ah Bar overseas. –

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.