Award of Qualifying Foreign Law Practice licences
5 Dec 2008 Posted in Press releases
- The Singapore Government will be awarding Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) licences to the following firms (in alphabetical order): Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith, Latham & Watkins, Norton Rose, and White & Case. The QFLP licencees will have up to six months from 1 January 2009 to set up their QFLPs, and their licences will be valid for an initial period of five years.
- The Government had earlier announced the liberalisation of the legal services sector, through the introduction of a QFLP Scheme. The Scheme provides for licences to be given to foreign law practices to practise Singapore law in permitted areas 1 through Singapore-qualified solicitors employed by them.
- In August 2008, foreign law practices were invited to apply for the QFLP licences. At the close of the application on 9 October 2008, a total of 20 proposals from foreign law firms were received.
- The applications were considered by an Evaluation Committee chaired by Mr Teo Ming Kian, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, and comprising Mr Heng Swee Keat, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore; Mr Peter Ong, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry; Ms Chan Lai Fung, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Law, and Mrs Koh Juat Jong, Solicitor-General, Attorney-General’s Chambers.
- The Evaluation Committee advised the Attorney-General on the applications. A Selection Committee then decided on the award of the QFLP licences taking into account the recommendations of the Attorney-General. The Selection Committee was chaired by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Law and Second Minister for Home Affairs, and comprising Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee, Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs; Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, and Mr S Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry.
Award of QFLP Licences
- The applications received were of very high quality. The six firms awarded licences are ranked amongst the world’s top law firms. The licences were awarded based on a number of criteria: the value of offshore work that the firm’s Singapore office would generate, the number of lawyers that would be based in the Singapore office, the areas of legal practice that the Singapore office would offer, the extent to which the Singapore office would function as a headquarters for the region, and the firm’s track record globally and in Singapore.
- The award of the QFLP licences is a significant step towards the Government’s goal of developing Singapore as a regional and global legal services centre. The QFLP scheme will help to support the growth of important sectors in Singapore economy such as banking, corporate finance and maritime industries; attract and retain legal talent, and provide Singaporean and global clients with high quality international legal services.
- The QFLP scheme complements other recent liberalisation measures with regard to international arbitration and the Joint Law Venture scheme. It will be reviewed in due course with a view to further liberalisation of Singapore’s legal services sector.
All areas except domestic areas of litigation and general practice, for example, criminal law, retail conveyancing, family law, and administrative law.
Last updated on 26 Nov 2012