18 Nov 2015 Posted in Press releases
The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) has today established the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) which will streamline licensing matters relating to law practices in Singapore under a single authority.
This move implements one of the recommendations made by the Committee to Review the Regulatory Framework of the Singapore Legal Services Sector in January 2014 to modernise the regulatory framework for the legal profession in Singapore. This and other recommendations led to amendments to the Legal Profession Act passed in November 2014, which will come into force today.
The new regulatory regime also introduces flexibility for law practices to apply for non-lawyers to become partners, directors or shareholders of their firms, subject to prescribed requirements and limits.
A New Integrated Licensing Regime
- The LSRA will administer a new integrated licensing regime that brings together certain regulatory functions previously undertaken separately by the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ Legal Profession Secretariat (in respect of licensing of foreign law practices and foreign law practice collaborations with Singapore law practices, and registration of foreign-qualified lawyers) and the Law Society of Singapore (in respect of various approvals applicable to Singapore law practices).
- The integrated regime aims to ensure that business criteria, such as names of law practices, foreign ownership and profit sharing, will be applied consistently.
- The newly-developed LSRA e-Services portal will bring all application transactions online and do away with manual processes. Back-end data interfaces between LSRA, the Supreme Court and the Law Society of Singapore will provide a more seamless and convenient experience for users of the portal.
- Members of the public can also tap on an integrated search function on the LSRA’s website to search all law practices and collaborations registered with the LSRA, as well as all lawyers practising law in Singapore, by name, firm or practice area.
Introduction of Regulated Non-Practitioners
- Non-lawyer employees of law practices can now become partners, directors or shareholders in, or share in the profits of, (up to 25% of) their firms. They can apply to the LSRA to be registered as Regulated Non-Practitioners.
- This will give law practices greater flexibility to attract and retain non-lawyer talent, for example, those with strong management or finance experience, who can add value to the firm’s legal practice.
- For further information on the LSRA, please visit https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/.
- In January 2014, a Committee to Review the Regulatory Framework of the Singapore Legal Services Sector (“Regulatory Committee”), comprising key stakeholders from the legal sector, submitted various recommendations to the Ministry aimed at modernising and streamlining the regulatory regime of the legal profession in Singapore.
- These recommendations culminated in amendments to the Legal Profession (Amendment) Act 2014, which was passed by Parliament in November 2014. The amendments introduce a new integrated framework for licensing of law practices under the LSRA and streamline the disciplinary process for all lawyers in Singapore. These changes, together with new rules enacted under the amended Act, will come into force on 18 November 2015.
MINISTRY OF LAW
18 NOVEMBER 2015
Last updated on 18 Nov 2015