PETALING JAYA: After completing secondary school with a Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) or O-level certificate, prospective law students would usually enrol in pre-university courses.
At this stage, students could study for a diploma in law, foundation in law or take other pre-university programmes through the Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) exams, A-level or matriculations, among others.
After completing the pre-degree courses, the students would then have to ensure that the universities they have chosen to enrol and read law in are recognised by the Malaysian Bar or the Legal Profession Qualifying Board (LPQB).The institutions recognised include Universiti Malaya, International Islamic University of Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Mara.
For those who wish to go abroad, only certain universities in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand are recognised by the Malaysian Bar and LPQB.
Here, students would have to read law for at least three to four years.
With a four-year degree programme that includes a professional year in the syllabus, the students would not need to sit for the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) examinations by LPQB, and could go straight into pupillage.
However, students enrolled in a three-year degree programme that does not offer the professional year would need to sit for the CLP, which would take nine months upon graduation.
The exam is required for one to be a “qualified person” as provided in Section Five of the Legal Profession Act 1976 (Act 166).
The LPQB states that a “qualified person” may be admitted as an advocate and solicitor if he or she fulfils the requirements set out in Section 11 of Act 166, including serving the prescribed period of pupillage.
Also known as chambering, pupillage is where students attach themselves to a law firm to gain knowledge and experience with the work of a senior lawyer – for nine months in the peninsula, or 12 months in Sabah and Sarawak.
Subsequently, after completing their pupillage, students would then be called to the Malaysian Bar to be officially admitted as an advocate and solicitor.
The total years of study to become a practising lawyer in Malaysia is about five to seven years.