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On 15 February 2017, the Singapore Academy of Law held an Information Evening on the Specialist Accreditation Scheme for Building and Construction legal practitioners. Queries were raised at the session which the pro tempore selection panel has since addressed. Clarifications to these queries may be found here.


Remember: The closing date for Accredited Specialist applications (for legal practitioners with at least 5 years’ PQE) is 31 March 2017.



INTRODUCTION

The Singapore Academy of Law’s Specialist Accreditation Scheme (the “Scheme”) confers recognition of a legal practitioner’s expertise and experience in a specialised area of law. It is an assessment process which requires a legal practitioner to show evidence of his or her knowledge and expertise in their chosen area of specialisation.

Specialist accreditation is a voluntary and an individual endeavour.

The Scheme’s purpose is to:

  • recognise the high level of proficiency of legal practitioners in their chosen practice area and promote continued personal professional development and improvement
  • incentivise younger legal practitioners to hone their skills and knowledge
  • provide the legal industry and general public with a reliable means of identifying and accessing legal practitioners who have proven themselves as possessing the requisite skills and knowledge in a practice area
  • promote continued development and improvement of standards, quality and delivery of legal services

 

Legal practitioners interested in being accredited may apply to be:

  • An Accredited Specialist (for legal practitioners with more than 5 years’ PQE) OR
  • A Senior Accredited Specialist (for legal practitioners with more than 10 years’ PQE)

For 2017, specialist accreditation is offered for the following practice area:
Building and Construction Law 2017 (revised 16 January 2017)



 

 

FAQs

Why should I be accredited?

Specialist accreditation is a significant achievement and valuable asset to recognise and promote your expertise in a specialisation, and thus enhance your reputation. It gives you the opportunity to distinguish yourself from your peers.

Specialist accreditation also allows you to be identified by the legal industry and the general public as possessing the requisite skills and knowledge in your chosen area of specialisation.

What is the difference between an Accredited Specialist and a Senior Accredited Specialist?

An Accredited Specialist is a legal practitioner with at least 5 years’ PQE who has been deemed by the SAL to possess the necessary knowledge and skills to handle front-end and/or litigation work of some complexity in a specialised area of law.

A Senior Accredited Specialist is a more experienced legal practitioner with at least 10 years’ PQE who has been deemed by the SAL to possess the necessary knowledge and skills to handle front-end and/or litigation work of greater complexity in a specialised area of law. They have dedicated a good proportion of their practice to this specialisation.

To be accredited, what are the eligibility criteria to fulfil?

The eligibility criteria for Accredited Specialist and Senior Accredited Specialist applicants differ. However, the criteria can be broadly set out as follows. You must:

  • have been admitted to the Singapore Bar as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore
  • hold a currently valid practising certificate
  • have a minimum full-time post-qualification experience (PQE)
  • have NOT been subject to any professional disciplinary proceedings or charged and convicted of a serious crime
  • have been substantially involved in the full-time practice of the specialisation for which accreditation is sought
  • have been engaged in continuing professional development (CPD) in the said specialisation
  • provide favourable references
  • successfully complete an assessment process comprising an examination and/or a selection panel interview

Please refer to the information guide for the following practice areas for details of the eligibility criteria:
Building and Construction Law 2017 (revised 16 January 2017)

How do I apply for specialist accreditation?

Before you apply, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you feel that you have the expert knowledge and experience in a practice area?
  • Do your colleagues and contemporaries consider you an expert in this area? Do they seek your advice on complex issues?
  • Have you honed your expertise by participating in continuing professional development including attending and/or presenting at seminars and conferences in this area?

If you answer “yes” to these questions, do consider applying for specialist accreditation.

Please read the following information guide before applying to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria and are able to abide by the timelines.
Building and Construction Law 2017 (revised 16 January 2017)

Download and complete the application form. Submit it together with the reference statements from your referees, other necessary documentation and the payment confirmation email to accreditation@sal.org.sg.

All fees must be paid through SAL-e.

What are the application dates for specialist accreditation in 2017?

If you are interested to apply to be an Accredited Specialist, the opening date for applications is 9 January and the closing date is
31 March, 5pm.


If you intend to apply to be a Senior Accredited Specialist, the opening date for applications is 1 July and the closing date is
31 August, 5pm
.

What documentation do I need to include in my application?

You would need to include the following with your application:

How is the 5 or 10 years’ PQE calculated?

If you are interested to apply to be an Accredited Specialist, you need at least 5 years’ full-time PQE as at the opening date for applications which is 1 January. In other words, for 2017 applications, you would need to have commenced full-time practice on 1 January 2012 or earlier.

If you intend to apply to be a Senior Accredited Specialist, you would need at least 10 years’ full-time PQE as at the opening date for applications which is 1 July. In other words, for 2017 applications, you would need to have commenced full-time practice on 1 July 2007 or earlier.

Once I am accredited, what must I do to maintain my accreditation?

Because accreditation is testament to your expertise in the specialisation, to maintain this accreditation, you would be required to fulfil certain criteria.

The scheme requires you to be reaccredited every two years. To be reaccredited, you must show that, in the prior two years as a specialist, you:

  • continue to hold a currently valid practising certificate
  • have been substantially involved in the full-time practice of the practice area for which specialist reaccreditation is sought
  • have been engaged in continuing professional development in the said practice area, and
  • have NOT been subject to any professional disciplinary proceedings or charged and convicted of a serious crime

You may also be required to be interviewed by the selection panel.

Please refer to the Information for Specialists guide (forthcoming) for more information.

What if I am unable to fulfil certain criteria? Are there exemptions?

If you are unable to fulfil certain criteria due to leave of absence, or have successfully completed full-time post-graduate studies in the practice area for which specialist accreditation is sought, you may seek an exemption.

Approval for exemptions are at the discretion of the SAL.

Please refer to the information guide for the following practice area for more details:
Building and Construction Law 2017 (revised 16 January 2017)

What are the fees?

The fees in Singapore dollars and inclusive of GST for 2017 are as follows:

Service Senior Accredited Specialist Accredited Specialist
Application 1,070 428
Course (optional) - Refer to the information guide of the respective practice areas
Examination - 428
Reaccreditation (biennially) 535 214

All fees must be paid through SAL-e.

What are the refunds?

Refunds in Singapore dollars and inclusive of GST for 2017 are as follows:

Service Senior Accredited Specialist Accredited Specialist
Application 749 321
Course (optional) - 30-45 days prior to start of course: 75% of course fee

8–29 days: 50% of course fee

7 days or less: No refund
Examination - 321
Reaccreditation (biennially) 374.50 160.50

What are the important dates I should take note of?

The key dates for the Building and Construction Law specialist accreditation programme 2017 are:

Date Event
9 January Accredited Specialist applications open
15 February Information evening
31 March Accredited Specialist applications close 5pm
30 April Accredited Specialist candidature confirmed
1 May Examination preparatory course registration opens; fee to be paid
14 June Examination preparatory course registration closes
Examination registration opens
1 July Senior Accredited Specialist applications open
14, 15 July Examination preparatory course: Modules 1–4
21, 22 July Examination preparatory course: Modules 6, 7
28, 29 July Examination preparatory course: Modules 5, 8–10
27 July Examination registration closes; fee to be paid
26 August Examination
31 August Senior Accredited Specialist applications close 5pm
30 September Senior Accredited Specialist candidature confirmed
October Selection panel interviews for all candidates
December Results released to all candidates

CONTACT US


Specialist Accreditation Scheme
Singapore Academy of Law
Level 5M
Supreme Court of Singapore
1 Supreme Court Lane
Singapore 178879

Tel: (65) 6332 4388
Email: accreditation@sal.org.sg