Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Resign to preserve standing, integrity of legal system

New Straits Times
Roger Tan

Board must take blame

The manner in which the recent problem surrounding the leaks of CLP examination questions was handled is another sad example of how we deal with such a situation - the victims are punished while the decision-makers go scot-free.

In this fiasco, the officers of the Legal Profession Qualifying Board should also accept their responsibility. When a drastic measure such as nullifying the examination results is not followed by any acceptance of responsibility by the board or its officers, the innocent will feel aggrieved.

If the decision had been followed by the resignation or removal of the director of CLP or others directly responsible for the printing and safe custody of examination papers, this may look more palatable. But, alas, this is not the case.

In my opinion, a better decision would have been only for those who have passed to resit the papers they have passed. Those who have failed should be excluded .

I am writing this partly because I commiserate with my chambering student who has returned to her books once again. To have to resit will not save the integrity of the CLP examinations.

Further, it is unfair to maintain such a low passing rate when graduates from local universities are not required to sit the CLP examinations. Perhaps, the time has come for the CLP examinations to be made mandatory for all law graduates just like the Practice Law Course in Singapore.

There must be equality of treatment so that these graduates are not treated differently from the local graduates.

I hope that the board will reconsider and temper justice with mercy. If, by trying to uphold the integrity of the CLP examinations, we demolish a person’s dignity or cause loss of a life or a person’s sanity or a miscarriage for that matter, I think we have committed a greater injustice by our zeal to uphold an already tarnished image.

Roger Tan
Kuala Lumpur