Public consultation on the Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill 2011
- The proposed Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill 2011 will amend the Legal Profession Act (“LPA”) and Singapore Academy of Law Act (“SAL Act”) to introduce changes necessary to:
- Establish the Singapore Institute of Legal Education;
- Implement mandatory Continuing Professional Development requirements for the legal profession;
- Establish a Foreign Practitioner Examination and the regulatory framework for Foreign Practitioner Certificate holders;
- Streamline and improve the legislative and procedural framework for admission to the Singapore Bar; and
- Make other miscellaneous and technical amendments.
Summary of Contents of the Bill
23 Nov 2010 to 3 Dec 2010
- The contents of the Bill can be summarized as follows:
Amendments to establish the Singapore Institute of Legal Education and establish the framework for mandatory Continuing Professional Development
2.1 In 2007, Government accepted recommendations made in a report 1 covering, inter alia, proposals relating to legal education and legal profession training. Many of these changes have been implemented in phases over 2008 and 2009. The Bill will introduce the final changes necessary to implement two remaining recommendations set out in the report, namely:
- To establish a “Singapore Institute of Legal Education” (Clauses 3, 4, 32, 34) which will come under the governance of the Singapore Academy of Law (“SAL”) to assume functions currently performed by the Board of Legal Education and serve as an umbrella body to oversee legal education initiatives; and
- To introduce mandatory Continuing Professional Development (“CPD”) (Clauses 5, 6, 7).
Amendments to establish a Foreign Practitioner Examination and the regulatory framework for Foreign Practitioner Certificate holders
2.2 The Bill also introduces the framework for a “Foreign Practitioner Examination” (“FPE”) (Clauses 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30, 34). These amendments seek to replace two existing schemes that allow foreign practitioners to practise Singapore law in limited corporate areas into a single scheme that will allow foreign practitioners to practise in “permitted areas of legal practice” (essentially corporate law areas, excluding domestic areas such as litigation, constitutional and administrative law, criminal law, conveyancing and family law etc). The Bill also covers the regulatory schematic for foreign practitioners who pass the FPE, which will mirror the regulatory and disciplinary framework for Singapore solicitors with Practising Certificates working in foreign entities.
Amendments to streamline and improve the legislative and procedural framework for admission to the Singapore Bar
2.3 Various amendments are made to streamline and improve the legislative and procedural framework for admission to the Singapore Bar with a view to amalgamating disparate admission requirements contained both within the Legal Profession Act (“LPA”) and various rules enacted thereunder, into a single set of rules to make them more user friendly (Clause 4).
2.4 Processes related to call to the Singapore Bar are also streamlined, modified and enhanced taking into account feedback from the legal fraternity (Clauses 4, 8).
Other miscellaneous and technical amendments
2.5 The Bill also contains various miscellaneous and technical amendments, the key changes being to:
- Clarify that the provision of pro bono legal services by certain categories of legally trained individuals and the provision of legal services by in-house counsel to their own organizations do not contravene section 33 of the LPA (Clause 10);
- Amend the law to remove the restriction on provision of corporate secretarial services by persons who are not practising “advocates and solicitors” (Clause 9); and
- Permit an officer of a company, a limited liability partnership or an unincorporated association to act on its behalf, in accordance with the Rules of Court, in certain court proceedings without contravening section 33 of the LPA (Clause 10).
- The Bill seeks to provide the basic framework and structures for the changes to be implemented. Details (relating to admission procedures and requirements, CPD requirements, the FPE etc) will be set out in various sets of rules to be introduced at a later stage.
- The Ministry invites members of the public to comment on the draft Bill. All feedback should be submitted in writing via e-mail latest by 3 December 2010 to MLAW_Consultation@mlaw.gov.sg or by mail addressed to:
Industry Development Division, Ministry of Law
The Treasury, 100 High Street #08-02
 The ‘Report of the Committee to Develop the Singapore Legal Sector’ chaired by Justice VK Rajah.
Last updated on 26 Sep 2013