Written Answer by Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on the Regulation of Online Providers of Legal Aid
10 Oct 2016 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan (Member of Parliament for West Coast GRC)
To ask the Minister for Law what is being done to effectively monitor and regulate online providers of legal aid, templates and advice and to ensure that the companies/businesses/legal practitioners providing such an online service are duly qualified and properly regulated by the legal profession and in conformity with the regulations.
The practice of law in Singapore is subject to licensing and regulatory requirements under the Legal Profession Act, whether the legal services are provided online or otherwise.
Section 33 of the Legal Profession Act sets out the services that can only be provided by persons who are duly qualified and authorised to practise law in Singapore. A person who breaches this provision is liable to be prosecuted for an offence.
At present, there are a wide variety of products and services offered online to assist those with legal needs. Some, though not necessarily all, of what is offered may constitute legal services regulated under the Legal Profession Act. Each provider has its own service model, and some of these online providers may not even be physically based in Singapore, even though their products and services may be accessible from Singapore.
It is not practical for the Ministry to pro-actively seek out and monitor each and every website that purports to offer assistance to those with legal needs for compliance with the Legal Profession Act.
Members of the public may visit the Legal Services Regulatory Authority’s portal on the Ministry of Law’s website to check if the service provider is a licensed law practice. If a member of the public is of the view that there has been a breach of the regulatory requirements, he or she can file a complaint with the police, which can then look into the matter.
Last updated on 18 Oct 2016