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SC postpones 2020 Bar Exams; moves schedule to 2021

MANILA, PHILIPPINES—Upon the recommendation of Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen, 2020 Bar Examinations Chairperson, the Supreme Court en banc announced that the examinations set for this year shall be moved to 2021.

According to Bar Bulletin No. 11, S. 2020 which was published on April 29, the said suspension was due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country, as well as the social and economic disruption caused by the pandemic. In addition, the Court stated that it needed more time to determine the necessary adjustments and preparation for the conduct of the said examinations.

The recent Bar Bulletin also assured that the new schedule shall be announced by June 2020 when the current adjustments to the present pandemic become clearer. Furthermore, Justice Leonen has pushed for a regionalistic aspect of the Bar Exams as well. The Court en banc resolved that the examinations shall be held in Manila and in Cebu City.

In his recent posts in his personal social media platforms, Justice Leonen has now referred the upcoming examinations as the #BestBarEver2020_21. He also shared a message through his Twitter account saying:

“Applicants of the next bar exams: Be grateful for this moment. Appreciate those who are supporting you. Our people will go through very difficult times. Help others. Do your best to learn not only how to be a good lawyer but how to be a good person. Persevere.”

While the latest Bar Bulletin supersedes the dates and schedule of the exams, all other remaining bulletins were left valid and binding. It was announced earlier on that per Bar Bulletin No. 2, S. 2020, the two-examiner policy shall be retained. It is to promote operational efficiency due to the increase in the number of admitted bar candidates in recent years. In implementing the two-examiner policy, every bar subject shall be divided into two (2) parts- Part I and Part II. Examiners shall be assigned a specific scope from which to formulate their questions.

During the examinations, bar examinees shall be given one (1) questionnaire per subject with two (2) parts. Bar examinees shall also be given two (2) conjoined booklets, which shall be marked Part I and Part II. Answers corresponding to each part of the questionnaire shall be written in the appropriate examination booklet. After the examinations, booklets for Part I and Part II shall be released simultaneously to the respective bar examiners in order to expedite checking.

Aside from these announcements, the Supreme Court also released the syllabus for each subject to be taken up in the examinations. In its note, the Supreme Court reiterated in every bulletin that “All Bar candidates should be guided that only laws with their respective amendments and canonical doctrines pertinent to these topics as of June 30, 2019 will be covered in the 2020 Bar Examinations, except when provided in this syllabus. Principles of law are not covered by the cut-off period.

The Supreme Court, however, clarified in Bar Bulletin No. 5, S. 2020 that Partnership (Articles 1767-1867), Credit Transactions (Articles 2047-2092; 2124-2131; and 2140-2141), except for Loan and Deposit; and Concurrence and Preference of Credits (Articles 2236-2251) will be part of Commercial Law. Civil Code provisions on Labor will not be covered in Civil Law. The procedure for foreclosure of mortgage (real and personal) will be covered in Remedial Law.

In addition, it was further clarified in Bar Bulletin No. 7, S. 2020 that the remedies involved in real estate mortgage such as foreclosure, redemption, issuance of a writ of possession, and annulment of sale are moved to Remedial Law.

Lastly, Bar Bulletin No. 9, S. 2020 emphasized that the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure (A.M No. 19-10-20-SC promulgated on October 15, 2019) and the Revised Rules on Evidence (A.M No. 19-08-15-SC promulgated on October 8, 2019) are included in the coverage under Remedial Law. Principles of law are not covered by the cut-off period.

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