Public Consultation on Proposed Licensing Scheme for Independent Counsel
30 May 2011 to 31 Jul 2011
Singapore’s steady growth as a major legal and financial centre has been accompanied by the increasing number of complex commercial and financial disputes. As the local Bar is a small one, the pool of litigation lawyers available to deal with the rapidly increasing number of such disputes is correspondingly limited. At the Opening of the Legal Year 2011, Chief Justice noted that the shortage of Senior Counsel who could provide advocacy services in commercial and financial disputes was a concern, and referred this as a matter to the Minister for Law for consultation with the Law Society and the legal fraternity.
A greater diversity of legal representation in important commercial and financial disputes, will serve to enhance Singapore’s status as a key business and financial centre. The attached Consultation Paper details for consideration, a proposed new scheme to licence a small number of “Independent Counsel” (holding the equivalent of Senior Counsel in their respective jurisdictions) to supplement our litigation pool. The scheme envisages conferring such Independent Counsel rights of appearance in a Singapore court of law for permitted areas of advocacy (viz. corporate areas) for a limited licence period. Such Independent Counsel will be required to practise independently of law firms and be subject to other requirements to ensure the transfer of skills to young local counsel from the Singapore Bar.
It is hoped the proposed scheme will add further depth and breadth to Singapore’s vibrant legal scene and provide a wider choice to clients in the financial and commercial marketplace. The Ministry of Law welcomes comments on the attached Consultation Paper(52.6KB) from interested members of the public. All feedback should be submitted in writing via e-mail latest by 31 July 2011 to MLAW_Consultation@mlaw.gov.sg or by mail addressed to:
Legal Industry Division, Ministry of Law
The Treasury, 100 High Street #08-02
Last updated on 26 Sep 2013