Information on applications for second round of Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) licences
29 May 2012 Posted in Press releases
The Committee to Develop the Singapore Legal Sector, chaired by Justice V K Rajah 1 (and comprising several senior practitioners from leading firms, including Wong Partnership, Drew & Napier and Rajah & Tann), made several recommendations to liberalise legal services in Singapore in order to make Singapore a vibrant legal hub .
One of the main recommendations made by the Committee was that foreign law firms should be allowed to practise Singapore law. These and other proposals of the Committee were accepted by the Government. This allowed foreign law practices (FLPs) to obtain licences to practise permitted areas of Singapore law. 2 Six FLPs were awarded QFLP licences in December 2008. 3
As part of the implementation of the recommendations of Justice Rajah’s Committee, further QFLP licences will be issued in the second half of this year. The invitation for applications will open from 1 July 2012 and close at 4pm (Singapore time) on 31 August 2012. MinLaw will announce the award of the new licences by end 2012.
The applications will be assessed by an Evaluation Committee and a Selection Committee. These Committees will include senior officials from the Ministries of Law, Finance, Trade and Industry and Education, as well senior officials from the Economic Development Board, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
Similar to the first round of QFLP licences, the Committees will consider factors such as the applicant FLP’s commitment on the amount of offshore work that the Singapore office will do, and the number of lawyers who will be based in the Singapore office. The areas of legal practice that the Singapore office will offer, the extent to which the Singapore office will function as headquarters for the region, and the applicant FLP’s track record will also be considered.
The QFLP 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.
Prior to the opening of the application process, MinLaw will organise information sessions in June 2012 for FLPs interested in applying for a QFLP licence. FLPs should e-mail MLAW_QFLP_Consultation@mlaw.gov.sg to register interest for these sessions.
 Judge of Appeal of the Supreme Court. The Committee, which issued its Report in September 2007, comprised Mr Chan Seng Onn, then Solicitor-General (at present a Judge of the Supreme Court); Mr Sundaresh Menon, then Judicial Commissioner, Supreme Court (at present the Attorney-General and an S.C.); Mrs Koh Juat Jong, then Registrar, Supreme Court of Singapore (at present Solicitor-General); Mr Michael Hwang S.C.; Mr Alvin Yeo S.C; Mr Cavinder Bull (now S.C.), Mr Lee Eng Beng (now S.C.); and Mr Kwek Mean Luck, then Senior Assistant Registrar, Supreme Court of Singapore (at present Deputy Secretary, Public Services Division).
 Essentially commercial and corporate areas – the permitted areas are a ll areas of Singapore law excluding ring-fenced domestic areas such as constitutional and administrative law, conveyancing, criminal law, family law, succession law, trust law and litigation. The QFLPs can practise the permitted areas through Singapore-qualified lawyers with practising certificates o r foreign lawyers holding the recently introduced foreign practitioner certificate .
 They were Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Herbert Smith, Latham & Watkins, Norton Rose, and White & Case.
Last updated on 25 Nov 2012