Written Answer by Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on Plans to regulate alternative legal service providers in Singapore
05 July 2021 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Raj Joshua Thomas (Nominated Member of Parliament)
To ask the Minister for Law whether there are any plans to regulate alternative legal service providers in Singapore.
- The Member has asked about plans to regulate “Alternative Legal Services Providers” (“ALSPs”), which is a term generally used to refer to a wide range of non-traditional legal services providers, from small legal technology start-ups to large professional services firms that offer legal services as part of a broader suite of services.
- Under our current regulatory regime, entities wishing to offer legal services involving the practice of Singapore law or foreign law in Singapore must be licensed as a law practice and comply with the licensing and regulatory requirements under the Legal Profession Act. This means that the entity must be wholly or majority-owned and controlled by lawyers. Therefore, an ALSP that wishes to offer legal services as part of a broader suite of services would need to adhere to this ownership and control structure.
- ALSPs may also offer legal support services, such as manpower outsourcing, paralegal or other support functions, which are not subject to regulation under the Legal Profession Act, but are subject to the other usual requirements applicable to businesses operating in Singapore.
- With increasing innovation and technological advancements, the services provided by ALSPs have been evolving in response to changing market needs. Law practices have also been innovating and adopting new technology tools and business models. Some have given feedback that the current regulatory requirements may not be flexible enough to accommodate their proposed innovations and service offerings.
- MinLaw has been studying these developments closely, and is assessing how the current regulatory framework may be enhanced to support greater technology adoption and innovation in the legal sector, while ensuring continued consumer trust and confidence in the system.
Last updated on 05 July 2021