Foreign Queen's Counsel to be allowed to argue cases before Singapore courts

The Law Ministry will make amendments to allow Queen's Counsel or their equivalent to argue cases before Singapore courts.

This amendment is intended to address the shortage of such elite lawyers in Singapore who could provide advocacy services in commercial and financial disputes here.

These lawyers will be allowed on an ad hoc basis for specific cases, but courts will have to be convinced why they are needed.

However, in cases involving domestic areas, such as criminal, family, constitutional and administrative law, there will be stricter requirements on their admission to local courts.

Laws will also be tightened to allow only qualified lawyers from Singapore or overseas to serve in arbitration proceedings, as current laws do not bar non-practising persons, and lawyers who have been suspended or struck off the bar from acting as counsel.

In addition, lawyers practising in Singapore must also keep themselves up to date on the profession through the Singapore Institute of Legal Education, or SILE's, Continuing Professional Development requirements. This professional body was set up on May 2011 to co-ordinate, administer and exercise oversight over legal education in Singapore.

The Ministry is inviting feedback from the public on the draft Bill.The consultation period is from 6 to 22 December 2011. The public can view the consultation paper and draft Bill at www.minlaw.gov.sg and www.reach.gov.sg/YourSay/EConsultationPaper.aspx.

Otherwise, feedback can also be sent to:

Legal Industry Division
Ministry of Law
100 High Street
#08-02, The Treasury
Singapore 179434
Fax: 6332 8842
E-mail: MLAW_Consultation@mlaw.gov.sg

cynloh@sph.com.sg