1. The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) announced on 29 May 2012 that applications for a second round of Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) licences would open on 1 July 2012. The QFLP scheme, introduced in 2008, allows Foreign Law Practices (FLPs) that are awarded the QFLP licence, to practise “permitted areas” of Singapore law.1 Six FLPs were awarded QFLP licences in December 2008.2
2. Application forms for the QFLP licence will be available on MinLaw’s QFLP website from 12 am (Singapore time) on 1 July 2012, Sunday. The deadline for submission of completed application forms is 4 pm (Singapore time) on 31 August 2012, Friday.
3. To obtain access to the QFLP website, interested FLPs are required to register as an applicant with MinLaw. A non-refundable fee of S$1,000 is applicable for the issuance of a user name and password. To register as an applicant, FLPs need to:
a) Complete and submit the registration form in the Appendix.
b) Post or hand deliver to the Ministry’s office (as stated in the Appendix) a crossed cheque of One Thousand Singapore Dollars (S$1,000) made payable to the ‘Accountant-General’.
c) Upon receipt of the cheque, registered applicants will receive an acknowledgement email from MinLaw with the QFLP website link, and a user name and password unique to their law practice, within five working days.
4. Submitted applications will be assessed by an Evaluation Committee and a Selection Committee, which will take into account factors such as:
a) The number of lawyers who will be based in the applicant FLP’s Singapore office;
b) The areas of legal practice that the Singapore office will offer;
c) The extent to which the Singapore office will function as headquarters for the region;
d) The amount of offshore work that the Singapore office will do; and
e) The FLP’s track record.
5. The licensees will have up to six months to set up their Singapore office and their licences will be valid for an initial period of five years from then. The results for the issuance of the QFLP licences will be announced at the end of the year.
Appendix - Registration Form
Essentially commercial and corporate areas of Singapore law, but excluding ring-fenced domestic areas such as constitutional and administrative law, conveyancing, criminal law, family law, succession law, trust law and litigation, through Singapore-qualified lawyers with practising certificates or foreign lawyers holding the recently introduced foreign practitioner certificate.
They were Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith, Latham & Watkins, Norton Rose, and White & Case.