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Contents

Long Title

Part I PRELIMINARY

Part II SINGAPORE INSTITUTE OF LEGAL EDUCATION

Part IIA ADMISSION OF ADVOCATES AND SOLICITORS

Part III PRACTISING CERTIFICATES

Part IV PRIVILEGES OF ADVOCATES AND SOLICITORS

Part V THE LAW SOCIETY OF SINGAPORE

Division 1 — Establishment, purposes and powers of Society

Division 2 — Members of Society and subscriptions

Division 3 — Council of Society

Division 4 — Election of members of Council

Division 5 — Officers of Council

Division 6 — Powers of Council

Division 7 — Proceedings of Council

Division 8 — General meetings of Society

Part VI PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE, CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINE OF SOLICITORS

Part VIA LAW CORPORATIONS

Part VIB LIMITED LIABILITY LAW PARTNERSHIPS

Part VII DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

Part VIII REMUNERATION RECEIVED BY SINGAPORE LAW PRACTICES OR SOLICITORS, OR IN RESPECT OF PRACTICE OF SINGAPORE LAW

Part IX RECOVERY AND TAXATION OF COSTS

Part IXA JOINT LAW VENTURES, FORMAL LAW ALLIANCES, FOREIGN LAW PRACTICES, REPRESENTATIVE OFFICES, FOREIGN LAWYERS, AND SOLICITORS PRACTISING IN JOINT LAW VENTURES OR FOREIGN LAW PRACTICES

Part X MISCELLANEOUS

FIRST SCHEDULE Intervention in Solicitor’s Practice

SECOND SCHEDULE Inadequate Professional Services

Legislative History

Comparative Table

 
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PART III
PRACTISING CERTIFICATES
Practising certificates
25.
—(1)  Every solicitor shall, in every year before he does any act in the capacity of an advocate and solicitor, deliver or cause to be delivered to the Registrar an application for a practising certificate in such form and manner as the Registrar may require, the application to be accompanied by —
(a)
a declaration in writing stating —
(i)
his full name;
(ii)
in a case where he is practising or intends to practise in a Singapore law practice, the name of the Singapore law practice in which he is or will be practising;
(iii)
in a case where he is registered by the Attorney-General under section 130N to practise Singapore law, and is practising or intends to practise Singapore law, in a Joint Law Venture or its constituent foreign law practice, a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice or a licensed foreign law practice, the name of each Joint Law Venture and foreign law practice in which he is or will be practising;
[8/2011 wef 03/05/2011]
(iv)
the principal address, and every other address in Singapore, of each Singapore law practice, Joint Law Venture and foreign law practice in which he will be practising;
(v)
that he is not disqualified under section 26(1) from applying for a practising certificate; and
(vi)
in a case where he is applying for a practising certificate to practise as a locum solicitor, that he is not disqualified under section 26(1A) from applying for such a practising certificate;
(b)
a certificate from the Council or such other evidence as the Registrar may require that —
(i)
he is not in arrears in respect of any contribution to the Compensation Fund, subscription or levy lawfully due to the Society under the provisions of this Act;
(ii)
he has paid all the contributions and subscriptions payable prior to the issue of a practising certificate pursuant to sections 46 and 75;
(iii)
he has complied with or is exempt from the rules relating to professional indemnity made under section 75A;
[8/2011 wef 03/05/2011]
(iv)
if he has been ordered by the Council to pay any penalty under Part VII, he has paid the penalty; and
(v)
if he has been ordered by any court of law in Singapore or elsewhere to pay any sum to the Council or the Society, he has paid the sum;
(c)
a certificate from the Academy that he has paid all moneys, contributions and subscriptions payable by him under the Singapore Academy of Law Act (Cap. 294A) and any rules made thereunder;
(ca)
a declaration in writing in such form and containing such statements as may be prescribed by the Institute under section 10 for the purposes of this paragraph;
(d)
such accountant’s report as may be required under section 73 or a certificate from the Council stating that owing to the circumstances of his case such a report is unnecessary; and
(e)
the prescribed fee.
[10/91; 40/96; 4/2000; 41/2005; 19/2008]
(2)  The Registrar shall, subject to sections 25A and 25B, thereupon issue to the solicitor a practising certificate authorising him to practise as an advocate and solicitor in Singapore.
[40/96]
(2A)  A practising certificate issued under subsection (2) shall not authorise a solicitor to practise as a locum solicitor unless the practising certificate was issued pursuant to an application by the solicitor in accordance with any rules made under this section relating to practising certificates to practise as a locum solicitor.
[23/2004]
(3)  Every practising certificate shall be signed or approved by the Registrar and shall, subject to sections 26(9) and 27B, be in force from the date of issue to the end of the year.
[40/96; 4/2000]
(4)  Where the name of a solicitor is removed from or struck off the roll, the practising certificate, if any, of that solicitor for the time being in force shall expire immediately and the date of the expiry shall be entered by the Registrar in the register of practitioners.
(5)  Every practising certificate issued in the month of April shall be deemed to have been in force from the first day of that month.
(6)  In this section, “year” means the period from 1st April in any calendar year to 31st March in the next calendar year.
(7)  Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Council may make rules regulating the issue of practising certificates, including (in relation to practising certificates to practise as locum solicitors) rules specifying all or any of the following:
(a)
any modification to subsection (1), including any provision requiring a solicitor applying for such a practising certificate to give any undertaking relating to his practice;
(b)
any condition that shall apply to such a practising certificate, including conditions relating to the handling of client’s money by the solicitor and the supervision of the solicitor;
(c)
any training that the solicitor must complete for the purposes of section 26(1A)(b) and the time within which such training must be completed.
[23/2004]
(8)  Rules made by the Council under this section shall be signed by the President of the Society and submitted to the Chief Justice and shall come into operation upon the Chief Justice signifying his approval.
Power of Attorney-General, Registrar and Council with respect to issue of practising certificates in certain circumstances
25A.
—(1)  This section shall apply to any solicitor —
(a)
whose suspension from practice has expired;
(b)
who has been discharged from bankruptcy;
(c)
who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment in any civil or criminal proceedings in Singapore or elsewhere;
(d)
who has been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or fraud;
(e)
who has been convicted of an offence in relation to his conduct in his practice of law;
(f)
who has been found guilty of misconduct in any other professional capacity;
(fa)
whose fitness to practise has been determined under section 25C to be impaired by reason of his physical or mental condition, or who, having been ordered by a Judge to submit to a medical examination under section 25C to be conducted within such period as the Judge may specify in the order, fails to do so;
(g)
whom the Attorney-General or the Council is satisfied is incapacitated by illness or accident, or by the solicitor’s physical or mental condition, to such extent as to be unable to attend to his practice; or
(h)
whom the Attorney-General or the Council is satisfied has failed to comply with any of the rules made under section 72 or any of the rules made under section 73D of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act (Cap. 61).
[40/96; 19/2008]
(2)  Subject to subsection (2A), where a solicitor to whom this section applies makes an application for a practising certificate, the Attorney-General or the Council may, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, in writing request the Registrar —
(a)
to refuse the application for a practising certificate; or
(b)
to issue a practising certificate to the solicitor subject to such conditions as the Attorney-General or the Council may specify,
and the Registrar may, subject to subsections (6) and (7), comply with the request and notify the solicitor in writing.
[40/96; 19/2008]
(2A)  The Council shall not be entitled to make a request under subsection (2) in relation to a solicitor without the consent of the Attorney-General, if the solicitor —
(a)
is registered by the Attorney-General under section 130N to practise Singapore law in a Joint Law Venture or its constituent foreign law practice, a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice or a licensed foreign law practice; and
(b)
undertakes not to practise in any Singapore law practice while his practising certificate is in force.
[19/2008]
(3)  Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2)(b) —
(a)
conditions may be imposed under that subsection for requiring the applicant to take any specified steps that will, in the opinion of the Attorney-General or the Council, be conducive to his carrying on an efficient practice as a solicitor; and
(b)
conditions may be so imposed (whether for the purpose mentioned in paragraph (a) or otherwise) notwithstanding that they may result in expenditure being incurred by the applicant.
[40/96]
(4)  Where the Attorney-General or the Council makes a request under subsection (2) by reason only of any such circumstances as are mentioned in subsection (1)(c), (d), (e), (f), (fa), (g) or (h), the solicitor concerned may, upon proof of a change in the circumstances or for any good cause, inform the Attorney-General or the Council, as the case may be, of the change or good cause.
[40/96; 19/2008]
(5)  The Attorney-General or the Council, as the case may be, shall, upon being so informed under subsection (4), reconsider the request and may in writing request the Registrar —
(a)
to grant the application for a practising certificate; or
(b)
to remove any condition imposed on the practising certificate under subsection (2)(b),
and the Registrar may comply with the request and notify the solicitor in writing.
[40/96]
(6)  Where a practising certificate free of conditions is issued by the Registrar to a solicitor in relation to whom this section applies by reason of any such circumstances as are mentioned in subsection (1), then, except in the case of any circumstances of whose existence the Attorney-General or the Council is unaware at the time the certificate is issued, this section shall not thereafter apply in relation to that solicitor by reason of those circumstances.
[40/96]
(7)  The Registrar shall not refuse an application by a solicitor for a practising certificate where —
(a)
this section applies to the solicitor by reason only of any such circumstances as are mentioned in subsection (1)(a) or (b); or
(b)
disciplinary proceedings against the solicitor under Part VII or section 130R by reason of any such circumstances as are mentioned in subsection (1) have been disposed of.
[40/96; 19/2008]
Appeals in connection with issue of practising certificates
25B.
—(1)  Where the Registrar has refused to issue a practising certificate or has issued to a solicitor a practising certificate subject to a condition under section 25A, the solicitor may, within one month of being notified by the Registrar of the decision, appeal to a Judge by originating summons.
[40/96]
(2)  Any appeal under subsection (1) shall be served on the Attorney-General and the Society, and the Attorney-General and the Society may appear at the hearing to make representations.
[40/96]
(3)  On such appeal, the Judge may —
(a)
direct the Registrar not to issue a practising certificate to the solicitor;
(b)
direct the Registrar to issue a practising certificate to the solicitor free of conditions or subject to such conditions as the Judge thinks fit; or
(c)
make such other order as the Judge thinks fit.
[40/96]
(4)  No appeal shall lie from any order made by a Judge under this section.
[40/96]
Medical examination required in certain circumstances
25C.
—(1)  If the Attorney-General or the Council is satisfied that a solicitor’s fitness to practise appears to have been impaired by reason of the solicitor’s physical or mental condition, the Attorney-General or the Council (as the case may be) may apply to a Judge by originating summons for an order that the solicitor submit to a medical examination.
[19/2008]
(2)  An application under subsection (1) shall be served on the solicitor concerned.
[19/2008]
(3)  If, on an application under subsection (1), the Judge is of the opinion that the solicitor’s fitness to practise appears to have been impaired by reason of the solicitor’s physical or mental condition, the Judge shall order the solicitor to submit to a medical examination to be conducted —
(a)
by a registered medical practitioner who meets such criteria as the Judge may, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, specify; and
(b)
within such period as the Judge may specify in the order.
[19/2008]
(4)  The registered medical practitioner shall —
(a)
personally examine the solicitor;
(b)
determine whether the fitness of the solicitor to practise has been impaired by reason of the solicitor’s physical or mental condition; and
(c)
submit a report of his determination and the reasons for the determination, within 14 days from the date of the medical examination, to the solicitor, the Attorney-General and the Council.
[19/2008]
(5)  In making his determination under subsection (4), the registered medical practitioner may have regard to —
(a)
his own observations;
(b)
the results of any tests carried out on the solicitor; and
(c)
any facts which are communicated to him by the Attorney-General, the Council or any other person.
[19/2008]
(6)  The solicitor shall bear all costs of and incidental to his medical examination under this section, any tests carried out on him for the purposes of the medical examination and the report referred to in subsection (4)(c).
[19/2008]
(7)  Without prejudice to subsections (1) to (6), if the Council is satisfied that a solicitor’s fitness to practise appears to have been impaired by reason of the solicitor’s physical or mental condition, the Council may direct the solicitor to stop practising until he has submitted to a medical examination.
[19/2008]
(8)  Where the Council has given a solicitor a direction under subsection (7) —
(a)
the Council shall, not later than 7 days from the date the direction was given —
(i)
make an application under subsection (1) in relation to the solicitor; and
(ii)
serve that application on the solicitor;
(b)
the direction shall cease to have effect, if —
(i)
the Council fails to comply with paragraph (a); or
(ii)
the application referred to in paragraph (a) is dismissed;
(c)
the solicitor may, upon proof of a change in the circumstances or for any good cause —
(i)
inform the Council of the change or good cause and request that the Council’s direction be rescinded; or
(ii)
apply to a Judge for an order that the Council’s direction be set aside, such application to be made —
(A)
by summons, in a case where the Council has made an application under subsection (1) in relation to the solicitor; or
(B)
by originating summons, in any other case,
and served on the Society; and
(d)
the solicitor shall comply with the Council’s direction until it ceases to have effect under paragraph (b) or is rescinded by the Council or set aside by a Judge.
[19/2008]
(9)  Notwithstanding anything in this section, the Council shall not be entitled to make any application under subsection (1) in relation to a solicitor, or to give any direction under subsection (7) to a solicitor, without the consent of the Attorney-General, if the solicitor —
(a)
is registered by the Attorney-General under section 130N to practise Singapore law in a Joint Law Venture or its constituent foreign law practice, a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice or a licensed foreign law practice; and
(b)
does not practise in any Singapore law practice.
[19/2008]
Disqualification for practising certificates
26.
—(1)  No solicitor shall apply for a practising certificate —
(a)
unless —
(i)
he is practising or intends to practise in a Singapore law practice;
(ii)
he is registered by the Attorney-General under section 130N to practise Singapore law, and is practising or intends to practise Singapore law, in a Joint Law Venture or its constituent foreign law practice, a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice or a licensed foreign law practice; or
(iii)
he is practising or intends to practise as a locum solicitor;
[(b), (ba), (c) and (ca) — Deleted by Act 19 of 2008]
(d)
if he has, for a period of 3 years or more, held office as a Judge of the Supreme Court or of the Supreme Court of Malaysia or of any High Court in any part of Malaysia;
(e)
if he is an undischarged bankrupt;
(f)
if he has entered into a composition with his creditors or a deed of arrangement for the benefit of his creditors;
(g)
if he has one or more outstanding judgments against him amounting in the aggregate to $100,000 or more which he has been unable to satisfy within 6 months from the date of the earliest judgment; or
(h)
if he lacks capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2008 to act as a solicitor.
[16/93; 15/95; 40/96; 4/2000; 23/2004; 41/2005; 19/2008]
(1A)  No solicitor shall apply for a practising certificate to practise as a locum solicitor unless he is a citizen or a permanent resident of Singapore, and —
(a)
has, for a period of not less than 3 years in the aggregate in the 5 years immediately preceding the application —
(i)
practised as a solicitor in a Singapore law practice; or
(ii)
been employed as a Legal Service Officer;
(b)
has completed such training within such time as the Council may by rules under section 25 prescribe; or
(c)
has practised as a locum solicitor at any time within the period of 3 years immediately preceding the application.
[41/2005; 19/2008]
(2)  Notwithstanding anything in subsection (1), any solicitor who has held office as a Judge of the Supreme Court for a period of 3 years or more shall on application be issued a practising certificate enabling him to practise as a solicitor, but without the right of audience in any court of justice in Singapore.
[10/91]
(3)  Subsection (1) shall not apply to —
(a)
a solicitor who is employed by the Society, the Institute or any statutory body or law office in the public service;
[8/2011 wef 03/05/2011]
(b)
a solicitor who is employed as a full-time member of the academic staff of any department of the National University of Singapore or of any department of law in any other institution of higher learning in Singapore and who has been so employed in either case for at least 3 continuous years; or
(c)
a State Counsel, Deputy Public Prosecutor or other legal officer of the government of any country or any territory of that country,
if the Attorney-General issues a certificate under his hand to the person and specifies therein the matters in which the person may appear and plead in courts of law.
[35/2001; 19/2008]
(4)  Where the Attorney-General has issued a certificate to a solicitor under subsection (3)(a) or (b), the Registrar shall, upon the solicitor complying with the provisions of this Act, issue him a practising certificate specifying therein the matters in which he may appear and plead in courts of law and the conditions (if any) as contained in the Attorney-General’s certificate.
[35/2001]
(5)  Where the Attorney-General has issued a certificate to a person under subsection (3)(c), the Registrar shall issue him a practising certificate specifying therein the matters in which he may appear and plead in courts of law and the conditions (if any) as contained in the Attorney-General’s certificate.
[35/2001]
(6)  The Attorney-General may shorten the period referred to in subsection (3)(b) if he is satisfied that the solicitor has gained substantial experience in law for the purposes of that subsection.
[35/2001]
(7)  Sections 72 and 73 shall not apply to a solicitor who has been issued with a certificate under subsection (3)(a) or (b).
[35/2001]
(8)  The other provisions of this Act shall not apply to a person who has been issued a certificate under subsection (3)(c).
[35/2001]
(9)  A practising certificate issued to a solicitor shall cease to be in force —
(a)
when the solicitor ceases to practise or to be employed as provided in this section;
(b)
upon the solicitor becoming subject to any disqualification under subsection (1)(e), (f), (g) or (h); or
(c)
when the Registrar subsequently issues another practising certificate to the solicitor.
[40/96; 23/2004]
(10)  For the purposes of this section, “Judge” shall not include a Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court.
[40/96]
Register of practitioners
27.
—(1)  Upon the issue of every practising certificate, the Registrar shall cause to be entered in an annual register kept for that purpose (referred to in this Act as the register of practitioners) the particulars referred to in section 25(1)(a)(i) to (iv) as contained in the declaration delivered under section 25(1)(a) and any condition imposed on the practising certificate.
[40/96]
(2)  Any person may inspect the register of practitioners during office hours without payment.
(3)  If there is any change with respect to any solicitor in the particulars referred to in subsection (1) or with respect to the status of his practising certificate, including as to whether it has ceased to be in force under section 26(9), that solicitor shall within one week thereafter notify the Registrar and the Council, and the Registrar shall thereupon cause the entry in respect of that solicitor in the register of practitioners to be amended.
[40/96]
Imposition of conditions while practising certificates are in force
27A.
—(1)  Subject to subsection (1A), where, at any time during the currency of the practising certificate of a solicitor, section 25A would have effect in relation to him by reason of any such circumstances as are mentioned in section 25A(1) if he were to make an application for a practising certificate at that time, a Judge may, upon an application by the Attorney-General or the Council made by originating summons and served upon the solicitor, direct that the current practising certificate of the solicitor shall have effect subject to such conditions as the Judge thinks fit.
[40/96; 19/2008]
(1A)  The Council shall not be entitled to make an application under subsection (1) in relation to a solicitor without the consent of the Attorney-General, if the solicitor —
(a)
is registered by the Attorney-General under section 130N to practise Singapore law in a Joint Law Venture or its constituent foreign law practice, a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice or a licensed foreign law practice;
(b)
does not practise in any Singapore law practice; and
(c)
undertakes not to practise in any Singapore law practice while his practising certificate remains in force.
[19/2008]
(2)  Where an order under subsection (1) has been made against a solicitor by reason only of any such circumstances as are mentioned in section 25A(1)(c), (d), (e), (f), (fa), (g) or (h), the solicitor may, upon proof of a change in the circumstances or for any good cause, apply to a Judge by summons for a reconsideration of the matter.
[40/96; 19/2008]
(3)  Any application under subsection (2) shall be served on the Attorney-General and the Society, and the Attorney-General and the Society may appear at the hearing to make representations.
[40/96]
(4)  At the hearing of the application, the Judge shall consider all the circumstances of the case and may make such order as he thinks fit.
[40/96]
(5)  No appeal shall lie from any order made by a Judge under subsection (4).
[40/96]
(6)  Section 25A(3) shall apply for the purposes of subsection (1) as it applies for the purposes of section 25A(2)(b).
[40/96]
Referral to Disciplinary Tribunal and suspension of practising certificates
27B.
—(1)  Subject to subsection (1A), upon an application to a Judge by the Attorney-General or the Council, or on the hearing by a Judge of an application made under section 27A, the Judge may —
(a)
where the Judge is satisfied that cause of sufficient gravity for disciplinary action against a solicitor exists —
(i)
request the Society under section 85(3)(b) to refer the matter to a Disciplinary Tribunal unless the matter had been or is being dealt with under Part VII or is to be dealt with under section 94A; and
(ii)
order that the solicitor’s current practising certificate be suspended; or
(b)
order that a solicitor’s current practising certificate be suspended, if —
(i)
the solicitor’s fitness to practise has been determined under section 25C to be impaired by reason of the solicitor’s physical or mental condition;
(ii)
the solicitor, having been ordered by a Judge to submit to a medical examination under section 25C to be conducted within such period as the Judge may specify in the order, fails to do so; or
(iii)
the Judge is satisfied that the solicitor is incapacitated by illness or accident, or by the solicitor’s physical or mental condition, to such extent as to be unable to attend to the solicitor’s practice.
[19/2008]
(1A)  The Council shall not be entitled to make an application under subsection (1) in relation to a solicitor without the consent of the Attorney-General, if the solicitor —
(a)
is registered by the Attorney-General under section 130N to practise Singapore law in a Joint Law Venture or its constituent foreign law practice, a Qualifying Foreign Law Practice or a licensed foreign law practice;
(b)
does not practise in any Singapore law practice; and
(c)
undertakes not to practise in any Singapore law practice while his practising certificate remains in force.
[19/2008]
(2)  Any application by the Attorney-General or the Council under subsection (1) shall be made by originating summons which shall be served on the solicitor.
[40/96]
(3)  Where the Attorney-General or the Council makes an application under subsection (1), the Judge shall have, in addition to his powers under that subsection, the powers exercisable by him under section 27A.
[40/96]
(4)  If, in a case where a Judge has made an order under subsection (1)(a)(ii) suspending a solicitor’s current practising certificate —
(a)
the Disciplinary Tribunal determines under section 93(1)(a) that no cause of sufficient gravity for disciplinary action against the solicitor exists under section 83 or determines under section 93(1)(b) that the solicitor should be reprimanded;
(b)
the application made against the solicitor under section 98(1) is withdrawn or dismissed; or
(c)
an order has been made under section 98 that the solicitor be struck off the roll, suspended from practice or censured, or that the solicitor pay a penalty,
the suspension of the practising certificate of the solicitor shall terminate immediately.
[40/96; 42/2005; 19/2008]
(5)  Nothing in subsection (4) shall be construed as affecting the power of the court of 3 Judges of the Supreme Court to suspend a solicitor from practice on an application under section 98(1).
[40/96; 42/2005; 19/2008]
(6)  Where the suspension of the practising certificate of a solicitor under this section has terminated by reason only of the expiry of the solicitor’s current practising certificate and not by reason of the occurrence of any of the events mentioned in subsection (4), the solicitor shall not apply for another practising certificate until any of the events mentioned in subsection (4) has occurred; and if a practising certificate has been issued to him, that certificate shall cease to be in force.
[40/96]
(7)  No appeal shall lie from any order made by a Judge under this section.
[40/96]
Cancellation of practising certificates
28.
—(1)  The Council may apply to a Judge by originating summons for an order directing the Registrar to cancel a practising certificate issued to a solicitor, if it appears to the Council that —
(a)
the certificate has been issued to the solicitor contrary to the provisions of this Act;
(b)
the accountant’s report submitted by the solicitor does not comply with section 73; or
(c)
the certificate has ceased to be in force under section 26(9)(a) or (b), but the solicitor has failed to notify the Registrar and the Council of this in accordance with section27(3).
(2)  Such an application shall be served on the advocate and solicitor concerned and upon the hearing thereof the Judge may make such order as he may think fit and may also make such order for the payment of costs as may be just.
(3)  Disciplinary proceedings may be taken against any solicitor if in, or in relation to, an application for a practising certificate he makes a false statement material to the application.