Assoc Prof Tan Kheng Boon Eugene, Nominated Member
To ask the Minister for Law whether trainee lawyers may serve their practice training requirement at Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) firms for admission to the Singapore Bar, notwithstanding that QFLP firms practise in limited areas of Singapore law.
Law graduates who meet the criteria of being a “qualified person” under the Legal Profession Act are required to serve a practice training period before being admitted to the Singapore Bar. The trainee can fulfil the practice training requirements by having a practice training contract with a Singapore Law Practice (SLP) or in the context of public service, by serving as a Legal Service Officer or a legal officer in one of five prescribed public bodies.
Trainee lawyers cannot serve their practice training requirement at Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) firms for the purposes of being called to the Singapore Bar. QFLP firms are foreign law practices (FLPs) with a licence which allows them to practise Singapore law only in “permitted areas of legal practice”. The “permitted areas of legal practice” are mainly commercial areas of law. Areas of domestic legal practice, such as constitutional and administrative law, criminal law and family law, and the conduct of litigation are excluded, or “ring-fenced”.