New regulatory framework for legal practice in Singapore
A new regulator and new rules for professional conduct will be established to bring greater consistency to how Singapore- and foreign-qualified lawyers practise Singapore law.
The Committee to Review the Regulatory Framework of the Singapore Legal Services Sector submitted these recommendations to the Law Ministry last week.
A Professional Conduct Council, or PCC, will be formed to oversee the new rules for professional conduct.
The PCC will include universally accepted principles of conduct that apply to all lawyers in Singapore, as well as new management rules that apply to lawyers involved in the management of a law practice.
A new agency, the Legal Services Regulatory Authority or LSRA, will be formed to regulate all law practices in Singapore.
It will take over the regulatory functions of the Law Society of Singapore and the Attorney-General's Chambers.
The LSRA will focus on regulating business criteria for setting up a law practice.
The regulatory regime will also be updated to allow non-lawyer employees take up to 25 per cent ownership of a law firm.
Under the current legal services framework, there are different disciplinary and regulatory regimes for Singapore- and foreign-qualifed lawyers practising in Singapore.
The committee has proposed the enhanced framework to better integrate the legal fraternity, especially as there are a growing number of lawyers qualified in foreign jurisdictions but practising Singapore law.
An amendment Bill incorporating these recommendations will be tabled before the end of the year.
The changes will likely be implemented next year.
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