Bar Examination Policy

It shall be a condition precedent of a lawyer undertaking the Bar Practice Course conducted by the Bar Association that he or she sit for and pass to a standard of 75% the NSW Bar Examination.

The nature and conditions of the examination shall be made known to prospective candidates as part of the information material provided to them. Information material may be provided to registered candidates by way of the Bar Association website and by email.

Illness/Misadventure ProvisionsCandidates undertaking the NSW Bar Examination that wish to apply for illness/misadventure provisions must supply the following documentation:

  • A detailed written application that clearly outlines the reasons for applying (illness, hardship endured), how this has directly impacted their preparation and how it would impact them on exam day or has impacted them on exam day.  All applications must have supporting documentation in the form of a medical certificate or doctor's note where appropriate or other relevant information. -  The application should be made as soon as the circumstances arise and in any event within 48 hours of sitting the examination. If you have an accident or an illness just before the examination, emergency provisions can be arranged.  You should immediately notify the Director, Professional Development. The information will then be assessed and a determination made by the Director, Professional Development in consultation with the Chair, Examination Working Party, together acting in this regard on behalf of the Bar Council.

Disability Provisions

Disability provisions in the NSW Bar Examination are practical arrangements designed to assist candidates who could not otherwise make a fair attempt to demonstrate what they know during an examination.  The disability provisions apply only where the disability is such that a practical arrangement is required to reduce disadvantage during an examination.  

The provisions granted are solely determined by the impact on the candidate's examination performance. Candidates undertaking the NSW Bar Examination that want to apply for disability provisions must supply the following documentation:-  A detailed written application that clearly indicates the provisions for which the candidate is applying, indicating how the disability affects the candidate in examination situations. -  Evidence of the disability in the form of a medical report with the appropriate diagnosis. 

A current medical or other relevant specialist's report which clearly states why the candidate needs the provision/s and what those provisions should be. This information will then be assessed and a determination made by the Director, Professional Development in consultation with the Chair, Examination Working Party, together acting in this regard on behalf of the Bar Council.

These disability provisions are provided to comply with the reasonable adjustment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth).

In the event:

a) a candidate fails by not more than 5 marks to attain the pass mark of 75%;

b) an application for illness/misadventure or disability provisions has been made under paragraph 3 or 4; or

c) other circumstances exist before examination results are finalised which in the opinion of the Director, Professional Development in consultation with the chair, Examination Working Party, together acting in this regard on behalf of the Bar Council, make it appropriate for a candidate’s paper to be reviewed;the paper shall be reviewed by a moderator. The moderator may award a pass or fail to the candidate for the paper.

If according to the moderator the candidate still fails, the Director, Professional Development in consultation with the chair, Examination Working Party, together acting in this regard on behalf of the Bar Council may, in their absolute discretion, allow the candidate to undertake a further written or oral examination, and in exercising that discretion, may have regard, to any other matters which appear to them to be relevant.

Where a candidate fails an examination, he or she may sit for the examination when that examination is next conducted.

Notwithstanding paragraph 7, in order to be permitted to participate in the Bar Practice Course, a candidate must pass the examination within a period of 15 months prior to the commencement of the course in question.

NOTE: The New South Wales Bar Association does not provide numerical results.

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