SC abolishes national law school admission test
MANILA, Philippines–The Supreme Court has removed Philippine Law School Admission Test (PhilSAT) as a requirement for admission to law schools, saying it is not a “perfect initiative.”
In a decision made public Tuesday, the high court declared unconstitutional the memorandum circular issued by the Legal Education Board (LEB), which prescribes the passing of PhilSAT as a prerequisite for admission to law schools.
“Accordingly, the temporary restraining order issued on March 12, 2019 enjoining the LEB from implementing [the Memorandum Circular] is made permanent,” the high court said adding that “the regular admission of students who were conditionally admitted and enrolled is left to the discretion of the law schools in the exercise of their academic freedom.”
Also declared as unconstitutional is Paragraph 9 of LEB Memorandum Order 7-2016 requiring all college graduates or graduating students applying for admission to the basic law course to pass PhilSAT as a requirement for admission to any law school in the Philippines.
The same memorandum order said no applicant shall be admitted for enrolment as a first year student in the basic law courses leading to a degree of either Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor unless the passed PhilSAT taken within two years before the start of studies for the basic law course.
Both memorandums issued by LEB are “ultra vires” or issued beyond its authority.
“When PhilSAT is used to exclude, qualify and restrict admissions to law schools, as its present design mandates, the PhilSAT goes beyond mere supervision and regulation, violates institutional academic freedom, becomes unreasonable and therefore unconstitutional,” the high court said.
The high court said legal education deserves serious attention but crafting measures to see it through should be done through consultative summits with the LEB and law schools working hand in hand.
The high court’s decision is written by Associate Justice Jose C. Reyes Jr.
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