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SC: Bar exams in Sept 2023 

by Leila Salaverria

ASPIRING lawyers, take note.

The next bar exams will be held in September next year, the Supreme Court announced Thursday.

This is earlier than the usual November date and means successful passers will also be able to practice law earlier. 

The exams will be held for three non-consecutive days: September 17, September 20, and September 24, according to the Bar Bulletin from Supreme Court Justice Ramon Paul Hernando, chair of the 2023 exams.

Why September?

“The rationale is both practical and societal: an earlier conduct of examinations means an earlier release of examination results; successful Bar examinees can commence their practice of law as early as December 2023; and new lawyers may begin contributing to their families and to the society as members of the Bar in the same year they graduated from law school,” Hernando said. 

The exams would also have a “carefully-streamlined scope,” he said.

It would cover six core subjects, with two subjects taken per day. 

The first day would cover Political and Public International Law, and then Commercial and Taxation Laws. The second day would cover Civil Law, followed by Labor Law and Social Legislation, while the third day would cover Criminal Law, followed by Remedial Law, Legal and Judicial Ethics with Practical Exercises.

Hernando said taxation law would be coupled with commercial law because of the “affinity between these two fields of law in law practice.” 

The tests for remedial law and legal and judicial ethics with practical exercise would also be administered together because they are “complementary tools in the exercise of the profession,” he said.

The 2023 bar exams would be composed of a maximum of 20 “straightforward, entry-level questions, in essay-type form.” 

There would be four examiners per subject.

All examination questions would be sourced from laws, rules, issuances, and jurisprudence pertinent to the key topics indicated in the 2023 bar syllabi as of June 30, 2022.

Advise to aspiring lawyers

Hernando also shared a personal note for the bar applicants, and said the exams would test not just their knowledge, but their resolve as well.

“Exploit your last semester in law school to the fullest and your law review courses to the last minute as opportunities for mastery,” he said. 

He advised them to read the bar bulletins and issuances carefully, to be vigilant against misinformation and disinformation, and to be adaptable in overcoming post-pandemic challenges.

“Never waver. May your body be strong and your mind fortified as you step onto the final stretch of this journey. Do not leave your fate to Fortuna, the goddess of chance. But should you do, always remember that chance favors the prepared one. The goal is in sight. I hope to see each one of you at the finish line,” he said.



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