The Complete Guide to Studying Law in Malaysia
Do you have dreams to pursue law to uphold justice but need more information?
This comprehensive guide will answer all the questions every student has about studying law — what is law, is Foundation in Law a good pathway to a Law Degree, which are the best law schools in Malaysia and more.
Ready to be the next Amal Clooney or Ambiga Sreenevasan? Let’s explore!
#1. What is Law
Law is a system of rules that regulates what citizens can and cannot do. These rules are put together to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected so that we can live freely and peacefully.
Law affects every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s paying for meals, stopping at traffic lights or refraining from injuring someone else, law is required to ensure that people are safe from harm and that they do the right thing. Breaking the law may result in consequences for the offender, from paying a small fine to some serious jail time.
Lawyers are a crucial part of the law and form the backbone of the legal system. In Malaysia, lawyers specialise either as advocates or solicitors. As advocates, their job is to represent clients in court for criminal trials (crime-related) and civil trials (disputes between private parties). As solicitors, they provide legal advice and documentation such as contracts and legal letters.
A Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) will enable you to eventually be admitted as an advocate and solicitor. By studying this degree, you will gain a keen understanding of the legal principles and procedures of Malaysian law. From there, you will be able to apply that knowledge to perform legal analysis, solve cases and help your clients with legal issues.
Fields of Study in Law
Law can be classified into two major divisions — public law and private / civil law.
Public law is the law that governs the relationship between the government and its citizens. This comprises specialist areas such as constitutional law, administrative law and criminal law. Its purpose is to preserve order in the community by punishing offences against the state.
|Fields of Public Law||What It Is|
|Constitutional Law||Law that organises the government and deals with the division of its powers.|
|Administrative Law||Deals with disputes between government agencies and civilians or private organisations.|
|Criminal Law||Deals with punishing people who commit crimes (e.g. murder, drug trafficking, burglary).|
On the other hand, private or civil law deals with the rights and relationships of individuals towards each other. It often concerns disputes between private individuals and is aimed to remedy a wrong that has been suffered. Some areas of private / civil law are:
|Fields of Private Law||What It Is|
|Contract Law||Regulates agreements entered by two or more parties (e.g. loan agreements, T&Cs).|
|Property Law||Deals with the rights of anything that can be owned, such as land, goods and patents of a business. Property law can be broken down into further categories, such as land law that deals with properties and intellectual property law that protects ownership of creative works.|
|Trusts Law||Deals with the assets and debts left behind after someone dies.|
|Family Law||Deals with matters related to marriage, divorce and child custody.|
|Tort Law||Deals with cases whereby an individual has suffered damage (slander, injury, trespass) and wants to seek compensation.|
As you can see, there are many areas of law that you can specialise in. While you’re probably most exposed to criminal law that involves putting criminals behind bars, that’s definitely not the whole picture.
#2. Requirements to Study Law
a) What subjects are needed to study law?
There are no required subjects to study law.
If you have good grades in SPM (or equivalent) in the following subjects, law may be right for you:
As for A-Level, STPM or equivalent, the recommended subjects are:
- English Literature
b) Diploma in Law requirements
These are the general entry requirements for a Diploma in Law:
- SPM (or equivalent): Minimum 3Cs
c) Law Degree requirements
To pursue a Degree in Law, you need to complete a pre-university programme and meet the entry requirements.
- A-Level: Minimum of 2Es
- STPM: Minimum of 2Cs
- Australian Matriculation: Minimum of ATAR 50
- Foundation in Law, Arts or Science: Minimum CGPA of 2.00
- Diploma: Minimum CGPA of 2.00
- UEC: Minimum of 5Bs
On top of that, you may also need to meet these additional requirements:
- Minimum of 5Cs in SPM or equivalent
- Minimum of C in Bahasa Melayu at SPM level (or credit in “Malay” or “Malay as a Second Language” at ICGSE) to be exempted from the Bahasa Malaysia Qualifying Examination
- MUET Band 4 or IELTS Band 6.0
Remember that law requires you to have a good command of language in both English and Malay, so make sure you’re comfortable speaking and writing in both languages.
d) CLP Malaysia requirements
If your Bachelor of Laws does not include a professional year, you will need to complete a professional law exam called the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) to qualify as an advocate and solicitor in Malaysia, i.e. to practise as a lawyer in Malaysia. This professional law exam is conducted by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board of Malaysia.
To qualify for the CLP exam, you need to meet the following requirements:
- Minimum of 3Cs in SPM (or equivalent), and
- Minimum of 2Es in A-Level or 2Cs in STPM (or equivalent), and
- A recognised 3-year Law Degree with passes in 6 core subjects and graduated within 6 years of initial registration with the university
From 2021 onwards, the LPQB has increased its requirements for the CLP:
- Minimum of 5Cs in SPM (or equivalent), and
- Two principal passes in STPM or equivalent (i.e. minimum of 2Es in A-Level; or 2Cs in STPM; or 2Bs in UEC; or pass in Foundation in Law / Arts / Science), and
- A recognised 3-year Law Degree
#3. Studying Law in Malaysia
a) What do you study in law?
As part of your Bachelor of Laws, you will learn about the legal system and the principles and theories behind it. From learning to draft contractual documents to negotiating and advocating for your client, you will develop the knowledge and skills needed for a successful legal career!
Here are some of the subjects you will learn:
- Law of Contract
- Law of Torts
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law
- Land Law
- Equity and Trusts
In addition, you will also be exposed to mooting and mock trials, where you will argue a case against fellow law students in simulated court proceedings. This will give you a taste of what it’s like to be in a courtroom.
Unlike other courses that have an internship component, you will likely be graded solely on final exams at the end of each year. Therefore, you must be comfortable with an all exams assessment.
b) How long is a Law Degree?
A Law Degree (Bachelor of Laws) will typically take 3 years to complete. If you select a Law Degree that comes with a professional year, it will require 4 years.
c) Cost of studying law in Malaysia
To pursue your Law Degree, the total estimated fees of the course may range from RM43,000 to RM100,000.
d) Studying law in Malaysia part-time
If you have a full-time job and would like to study law part-time to further your education or switch careers, you can opt to study a part-time Law Degree at a private higher education institution in Malaysia. As a part-time student, you will attend classes during the evenings on weekdays or during the day on weekends, completing the same subjects as full-time students.
#4. How to Become a Lawyer in Malaysia
Here are the steps you need to take to be a qualified lawyer in Malaysia.
Step 1: Complete a pre-university or diploma course
Once you’ve completed your SPM or equivalent qualification, you can opt to study a pre-law course such as A-Level, STPM or Foundation in Law. Alternatively, you can also take a Diploma in Law.
Step 2: Complete your Law Degree
Thereafter, you can move on to pursue your Bachelor of Laws (LL.B), which is usually 3 years. For Law Degrees that include a professional year (e.g. Law Degrees awarded by recognised Malaysian universities), the degree will be 4 years. However, if you possess a Diploma in Law, you can enter your degree starting Year 2.
Step 3: Pass your professional law examination
If you plan to be a qualified lawyer (which is required if you want to practise law in Malaysia), you will need to pass the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) exam that’s approximately 9 months long. You can also opt to take the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) in the UK, which enables you to become a barrister in England and Wales as well as an advocate and solicitor in Malaysia.
If your Law Degree already includes a professional year, then you do not need to take the CLP exam since it is already embedded into your curriculum.
Step 4: Complete your pupillage (chambering)
Subsequently, you will need to read in chambers for 9 months. Chambering (also known as pupillage) is a form of internship where you attach yourself with a law firm to gain knowledge and experience with the work of a lawyer. After your pupillage is completed, you will be called to the Malaysian bar where you’ll officially be admitted as an advocate and solicitor.
To sum up, depending on your selected education pathway, it will take around 5.5 to 7 years for you to become a qualified lawyer.
#5. Should You Study Law?
a) Is law the right course for you?
If studying law is in the books for you, here are some questions you should consider:
- Do you have a strong sense of justice?
- Are you good at communicating your ideas?
- Do you have good critical thinking skills?
- Do you enjoy reading voluminously?
- Do you have an eye for detail?
- Are you looking for an intellectually stimulating degree?
b) Skills required to be a lawyer
Here are some key skills a good lawyer should have:
- Good command of language
- Ability to communicate effectively
- Ability to conduct in-depth research
- Critical-thinking skills
- Ability to solve complex problems
- Attention to detail
#6. What Can You Do With a Law Degree in Malaysia?
The most obvious career path for a Law Degree holder is to be a lawyer. Here are some legal professions you can pursue upon graduating:
- Litigation Lawyer: Represents and protects a client’s rights in court. Areas of specialisation include banking litigation, corporate litigation and criminal litigation
- Conveyancing Lawyer: Represents and protects a client’s rights in property-related transactions
- In-House Legal Counsel: Provides legal advice to companies such as banks, public-listed companies and multinational organisations
- Public Prosecutor: Represents the government in legal proceedings
If you decide not to practise law, you still have other career options:
- Law Lecturer: Many lawyers return to teach after several years of practising law
- Journalist / Editor: You can get into a media-related career as you would have picked up good written and communication skills
- Politician: Many prominent politicians studied law, including Tunku Abdul Rahman, Lee Kuan Yew, Tony Blair and Barack Obama
#7. Where Can You Study Law in Malaysia?
When hunting for the right Law school, make sure that the Law Degree that you will be pursuing is recognised by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board (LPQB). Otherwise, you may risk not being able to practise law in Malaysia!
For a start, here are some of the most popular Law schools in Malaysia.
Bachelor of Laws (LL.B)
Campus: Subang Jaya, Selangor
Intakes: Mar & Aug
Estimated Fees: RM101,400
Scholarships: Up to 100% tuition fee waiver
Gain hands-on training through mooting and debates, colloquiums and field trips
Learn both Malaysian Law and the Law of England and Wales in this dual jurisdiction programme
Recognised by LPQB
Option to transfer to partner universities in the UK
University of London’s Bachelor of Laws (LL.B)
Campus: Kuala Lumpur & Penang
Intakes: Jan, Mar & Jun
Estimated Fees: RM43,808
Offers the prestigious 3+0 LL.B programme from the University of London
The only law school in Malaysia to win 3 LAWASIA International Moot Competitions
Largest number of “Best Students in the World” Awards 2010
Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (Hons)
Campus: Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur
Intakes: Jan, May & Aug
Estimated Fees: RM67,500
Homegrown LLB programme that’s recognised by LPQB
Emphasis on peer teaching, legal research, negotiation skills and mediation
Experienced and dedicated faculty
#8. More Resources About Law
Want to learn more about studying law and being a lawyer? Here are some useful articles that you may like:
- QUIZ: Is Law a Good Fit for You?
- How to Be a Lawyer in Malaysia After SPM
- 12 Practice Areas of Law You Can Specialise In
- 7 Lies About Law You Thought Were True
- 7 Reasons Why Law School Isn’t for the Faint of Heart