WHEREAS, pursuant to its Constitutional authority to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law, the Supreme Court en banc item in its Resolution of 21 March 2000, created a "Special Study Group on Bar Examination Reforms" to conduct studies on steps to further safeguard the integrity of the Bar Examinations and to make them effective tools in measuring the adequacy of the law curriculum and the quality of the instruction given by law schools";

WHEREAS, the Special Study Group, with Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) Chancellor Justice Ameurfina A. Melencio-Herrera as a chairperson and retired Justice Jose Y. Feria and retired Justice Camilo D. Quiason as members, submitted to the Supreme Court its Final Report, dated 18 September 2000, containing its findings and recommendations;

WHEREAS, on 21 August 2001, the Supreme Court en banc referred, for further study, report and recommendation, the Final Report of the Special Study Group to the Committee on Legal Education and Bar Matters (CLEBM) headed by Justice Jose C. Vitug;

WHEREAS, in connection with the discussion on the proposed reforms in the bar examinations, Justice Vicente V. Mendoza, then a Member of the CLEBM, submitted a Paper, entitled "Toward Meaningful Reforms in the Bar Examination" with a Primer, proposing structural and administrative reforms, changes in the design and construction of questions, and the methodological reforms concerning the marking anf grading of the essay questions in the bar examination;

WHEREAS, proposals and comments were likewise received from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Philippine Association of Law Schools, the Philippine Association of Law Professors, the Commission on Higher Education, the University of the Philippines College of Law, Arellano Law Foundation, the Philippine Lawyers Association, the Philippine Bar Association and other prominent personalities from the Bench and the Bar;

WHEREAS, considering her Memorandum to the Chief Justice on "Proposed Technical Assistance Project on Legal Education," dated 27 February 2003, Program Director Evelyn Toledo-Dumdum of the Program Management Office (PMO) was invited to a meeting of the CLEBM;

WHEREAS, under the auspices of the PMO, the CLEBM conducted fur (4) regional round-table discussions with the law deans, professors, the students and members of the Integrated Bar of he Philippines for (a) the National Capital Region, at Manila Diamond Hotel on 19 November 2003; (b) Mindanao, at the Grand Regal Hotel Davao City on 23 January 2004; (c) the Visayas, at the Montebello Hotel in Cebu City on January 2004; and (d) Luzon, at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Manila on 6 February 2004.

WHEREAS, in a Special Meeting of the CLEBM at the Pan Pacific Hotel on 23 April 2004, the Committee heard the views of Ms. Erica Moeser, the Chief Executive Officer and President of the National Conference of Board Examiners in the United States of America on a number of proposed bar reforms;

WHEREAS, the CLEBM, after extensive deliberation and consultation, has arived at certain recommendations for consideration by the Supreme Court and submitted its report , dated 21 May 2004, to the Court en banc;

NOW, THEREFORE, the Court, sitting en banc, hereby RESOLVES to approve and adopt the following Bar Examination Reforms:

  1. For implementation within one (1) up to two (2) years:
    1. Initial determination by the Chairman of admission to the bar examinations of candidates (on the merits of the each case) to be passed upon by the Court en banc.
    2. Submission by law deans of a certification that a candidate has no derogatory record in school and, if any, the details and status thereof.
    3. Disqualification of a candidate after failing in three(3) examinations, provided, that he may take a fourth and fifth examination if he successful completes a one (1) year refresher course for each examination; provided, further, that upon the effectivity of this Resolution, those who have already failed in five(5) or more bar examinations shall be allowed to take only one (1) more bar examination after copleting (1) year refresher course.
    4. Promulgation of disciplinary measures for those involved in (a) attempts to violate or vitiate the integrity and confidentiality of the bar examination process; (b) improper conduct during the bar examination; and (c) improper conduct of "bar examinations."
    5. Disqualification of a Bar Examination Chairperson:
      1. kinship with an examinee who if his or her spouse or relative within the third civil degree of consanguinity;
      2. having a member of his or her office staff as an examinee, or when the spouse or child of such staff member is an examinee; and
      3. being a member of the governing board, faculty or administration of a law school.

    6. Desirable qualifications of Examiners:
      1. membership in good standing in the Philippine Bar;
      2. competence in the assigned subject;
      3. a teacher of the subject or familiarity with the principles of test construction; and
      4. commitment to check test papers personally and promptly pending the creation and organization of the readership panels provided for in item B(6) below

    7. Disqualifications of Examiners:
      1. kinship with an examinee who is his or her spouse or relative within the third civil degree of consanguinity or affinity;
      2. having a member of his or her office staff as an examinee; or when the spouse or child of such staff member is an examinee;
      3. being a member of the governing board, faculty or administration of a law school
      4. teaching or lecturing in any law school, institution or review center during the particular semester following the bar examinations;
      5. having any interest or involvement in any law school, bar review center or group; and
      6. suspension or disbarment from the practice of law or the imposition of any other serious disciplinary sanction.

    8. Personal preparation, by handwriting or using a typewriter, of fifty (50) main questions, excluding subdivisions, and their submission to the Chairperson in sealed envelope at least forty-five (45) days before the schedule examination on any particular subject; examiners should not use computers in preparing questions;
    9. Apportionment of examination questions among the various topics covered by the subject;
    10. Burning and shredding of rough drafts and carbon papers used in the preparation of questions or in any other act connected with such preparation;
    11. Publication of names candidates admitted to take the bar examinations;
    12. Disqualification of a candidate who obtains a grade below 50% in any subject;
    13. Fixing at June 30 of the immediately preceding year as the cut-off date for laws and Supreme Court decisions and resolutions to be included in the bar examinations; and
    14. Consideration of suggested answers to bar examinations questions prepared by the U.P. Law Center and submitted to the Chairperson.

  2. For implementation within two (2) years up to five (5) years:
    1. Adoption of objective multiple-choice questions for 30% to 40% of the total number of questions;
    2. Formulation of essay test questions and "model answers" as part of the calibration of test papers;
    3. Introduction of performance testing by way of revising and improving the essay examination;
    4. Designation of two(2) examiners per subject depending on the number of examinees ;
    5. Appointment of a tenured Board of Examiners with an incumbent Supreme Court Justice as Chairperson;
    6. Creation and organization of readership panels for each subject area to address the issue of bias or subjectivity and facilitate the formulation of test questions and the correction of examination booklets; and
    7. Adoption of the calibration method in the corrections of essay questions to correct variations in the level of test standards.1awph!l.˝ŕt

  3. For implementation within five(5) years and beyond is the further computerization or automation of the bar examinations to facilitate application, testing, and reporting procedures.
  4. Items not covered by this resolution, such as those that pertain to a possible review of the coverage and relative weights of the subjects of the bar examinations, are maintained.
  5. For referral to the Legal education Boards:
    1. Accreditation and supervision of law schools.
    2. Inclusion of a subject on clinical legal education in the law curriculum, including an apprenticeship program in the Judiciary, prosecution service, and law offices.
    3. Imposition of sanctions on law schools that fail to meet the standards as may be prescribed by the Legal Education Board.
    4. Mandatory Law School Admission Test.

This resolution shall take effect on the fifteenth day of July 2004, and shall be published in two newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines.

Promulgated this 8th day of June 2004.

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