The president and members of the Palestinian Bar Association
Subject: MUSAWA's Observations on the Bar's Finals
MUSAWA- The Palestinian Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession extends its warmest greetings to you, noting that the center has received an invitation to take part in the monitoring process over the Bar finals, which was held on 29/4/2019, from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, in the halls of the law and arts faculties, and Kamal Nasser Hall. In response to your invitation, MUSAWA appointed a monitoring team of 15 members and provided the competent bodies with a list of their names. However, the supervising authority requested to reduce the number of team members to 5 members only. In its turn, MUSAWA has unreservedly adhered to the mentioned request and included its opinion on that regard in this report. In response to the mentioned decision, MUSAWA sent another written memo to the competent authorities including the names of its five monitoring members: Rana Obeid, Mo’ayyad Abu-Assaf, Mahmoud Abdulrahim, Shorouq Abu Qare’, and Angham Mansour, who all monitored the exam from the beginning to the end.
At the very outset, MUSAWA deplores for restricting its right to monitor such exams, and limiting the number of its monitoring members to five only, given that the examinees number has reached 1400 trainee lawyers distributed in 30 halls, which distracted MUSAWA’s monitoring team, as it could not monitor the exams in all the halls, and thus redacted the monitoring process in terms of time, noting that each monitoring member had to take care of 6 halls, but none of them had the chance to exercise complete control over any hall. In any future cooperation, MUSAWA hopes that you enable its monitoring team to play its role duly.
Despite the large number of the examinees, MUSAWA acknowledges some positive aspects of the exam, as most halls visited by MUSAWA’s team were calm and disciplined, the official exam directors were kind to the team and their attitude was positive. However, MUSAWA’s monitoring team had the following observations:
- The exam started at 12:00 pm, while it was supposed to start at 11:00 am, as the exam announcement clearly instructed the examinees to be present at the halls by 10:30 am to start the exam by 11:00 am. MUSAWA learned that the delay was due to the confusion over the distribution of the official Bar’s directors in the halls.
- The exam had one form, and it dedicated a lot of points for true or false questions, which made it easier for the examinees to loudly exchange the answers in the hallways after they finished the exam. This case of disorder violated the confidentiality rules of the exam, caused panic among the examinees, who had not end their exams yet., The same thing was observed in many other halls.
- At some halls, the examinees kept asking question throughout the duration of the exam, and at some halls, some directors and examinees had private contestations in a low tone.
- Some directors used to leave their positions empty for a long time to have a smoking break.
- Some directors requested to direct specific halls, and their request was adopted by the Bar Association’s committee, which led other directors to change their halls without identifying the reasons or having the approval of the competent body.
- Some halls did not have female directors, which prevented female examinees from going out to the bathroom, as a female director should accompany them outside the exam hall. However, when MUSAWA asked about this very specific issue, it was told that a female director was supposed to attend the exam, but for personal reasons, she did not show up.
- Some halls were overcrowded and the space between the examinees was too tight.
- At some halls, the number of the official directors was disproportionate to the number of the examinees and does not meet the requirements of the monitoring mission.
- No instructions were given to the examinees regarding their mobiles and their law codes, which resulted in mobiles being kept by some examinees.
- At some halls, the way the exams were sealed does not prevent the attempts to know the names of the examinees, especially that the halls’ directors had only folded the paper for one time.
- At one hall, the number of directors was only two, and one of them was a heavy smoker and thus left the hall for several times, leaving his female colleague to take charge of the directing mission by herself.
- It was noticed that some of the halls’ directors did not attend the exam, while others did not stay at the halls they were deployed to. At some halls, the lack of directors was solved by transferring other directors of other halls, which all resulted in affecting the number suitable for the requirements of the monitoring mission.
- Once again, the visit of the Bar Association’s president along with a big number of escort, noting that MUSAWA has previously pointed out to this fault in its first report, and in response to this observation, the following exam avoided making the same mistake; however, it was not avoided this time.
MUSAWA hopes that your distinguished council and the supervising authority to consider its observations and take the needed actions to overcome them in the next exams.
With All Due Respect
Issued on 5/5/2019
MUSAWA’s Monitoring Team
Legal Monitoring officer