#Law Reform
Supreme Court of the Philippines and the Philippine Congress

Shari'a or the Islamic Law is a set of laws governing the legal aspects of life of every Muslims, which is primarily based on the Holy Qur-an. In the Philippines, some professional Muslims ought to enroll Shari'a in months of training for them to be able to practice legal profession. However, for them to be granted such privilege, they have to pass the 2-week Special Bar Examinations for the Shari'a Courts given by the Supreme Court in every two years.

When they will successfully passed the exam, they are entitled to practice legal profession, be lawyers as such. But their practice is only limited within the jurisdiction of the established Shari'a Courts in the Country, which were created by PD 1083 or the Muslim Personal Code of 1973 for the effective administration and enforcement of the said law. They cannot practice as lawyers in the regular courts. In an En Banc resolution of the Supreme Court dated August 5, 1993, in Bar Matter No. 681 "Re: Petition to Allow Shari'a Lawyers to exercise their profession at the regular courts," the Court categorically stated that "a person who has passed the Shari'a Bar Examination is ONLY a special member of the Philippine Bar and not a full-fledged member thereof x x x. As such, he is authorized to practice ONLY in the Shari'a courts". Hence, they are not allowed to be called as Attorneys and use the title of "Atty."

Considering, however, the hardship that they have undergone in the Shari'a training and even months of preparation for the Shari'a Bar, they are nevertheless tantamount with the experience of a person who studied in law school and apparently passed the Philippine Bar Exam. The legality of the issue addressed herein affects the Muslim populace in whole and indeed viewed as an injustice for their identity in general. This had been the clamor since the inception of the Shari'a Bar Examination to professionalize Muslims in this field of legal knowledge. Shari'a Bar Passers are lawyers in essence, but never called as "attorneys". They are merely called as Shari'a Councilors, when they can be at par with the regular law bar passers or are even better with respect to Shari'a jurisprudence and the like. Therefore, it is high time that something must be done. Hence, this petition is seeking the authorized personnel on this matter to recognized the Sharia Bar Passers as "Attorneys" here in the Philippines.

It is not asked that they be granted the right to practice in the regular courts as granted to the "full-pledge lawyers" who have undergone 4 years of law schooling and subsequently passed the 8-subject bar exam. What is asked is a mere recognition as a person belonging in the legal profession; that they be granted a title of "Atty.". And to do such, it is asked in this petition that a "Roll of Attorneys of the Shari'a Courts" be incorporated, similar with the "Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court" for the regular bar passers. All Shari'a Bar Passers shall sign in the Roll to acquire the privilege as "Attorneys".

This petition calls on the Supreme Court of the Philippines to come up with a resolution addressing the legal issue faced herein. Alternatively, the Congress of the Philippines is also called to enact law addressing the same concern.

Specifically, it is prayed that the Shari'a Bar Passers as persons in the legal profession here in the Philippines, be recognized as "Attorneys" and be allowed to used the title "Atty." in their names.

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The Sharia Bar Passers be recognized as Attorneys petition to Supreme Court of the Philippines and the Philippine Congress was written by Gibran Abubakar and is in the category Law Reform at GoPetition.