THE LAW SOCIETY OF SINGAPORE
—(1) There is hereby established a body to be called the Law Society of Singapore.
(2) The Society shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, and with powers subject to the provisions of this Act —
to sue and be sued in its corporate name;
to acquire and dispose of property, both movable and immovable; and
to do and to perform such other acts as bodies corporate may by law perform.
—(1) The purposes of the Society shall be —
to maintain and improve the standards of conduct and learning of the legal profession in Singapore;
to facilitate the acquisition of legal knowledge by members of the legal profession and others;
to assist the Government and the courts in all matters affecting legislation submitted to it, and the administration and practice of the law in Singapore;
to represent, protect and assist members of the legal profession in Singapore and to promote in any manner the Society thinks fit the interests of the legal profession in Singapore;
to establish a library and to acquire or rent premises to house the library, offices of the Society or amenities for the use of members;
to protect and assist the public in Singapore in all matters touching or ancillary or incidental to the law;
to make provision for or assist in the promotion of a scheme whereby impecunious persons on non-capital charges are represented by advocates;
to grant prizes and scholarships and to establish and subsidise lectureships in educational institutions in subjects of study relating to law;
to grant pecuniary or other assistance to any association, institute, board or society in Singapore in the interests of the profession of law or of students for that profession;
to afford pecuniary and other assistance to members or former members and to the wives, widows, children and other dependants, whether of members, former members or deceased members who are in need of any such assistance;
to promote good relations and social intercourse among members and between members and other persons concerned in the administration of law and justice in Singapore; and
to establish and maintain good relations with professional bodies of the legal profession in other countries and to participate in the activities of any international association and become a member thereof.
(2) In addition to the powers given by the other provisions of this Act, the Society may —
purchase or lease any land or building required for any of the purposes of the Society;
sell, surrender, lease, exchange or mortgage any land or building as may be found most convenient or advantageous;
borrow money whether by way of bank overdraft or otherwise for such of the purposes of the Society as the Society may from time to time consider desirable;
exercise such powers or functions as may be conferred upon the Society by this Act or any other written law; and
do all such other things as are incidental or conducive to the achievement or betterment of the purposes of the Society.
(3) In addition to rules that may be made by the Society under the other provisions of this Act, the Society may, subject to the provisions of this Act, make rules for giving effect to this Part.
39. The membership of the Society shall consist of the following:
all advocates and solicitors who are members of the Society by reason of section 40;
all persons admitted to membership of the Society under section 41; and
—(1) Every advocate and solicitor who has in force a practising certificate shall without election, admission or appointment become a member of the Society and remain a member under this section so long and only so long as he has in force a practising certificate.
(2) Every advocate and solicitor who has in force a practising certificate on the last day of March in any year shall be deemed to continue to be a member until the last day of April in that year.
(3) Every advocate and solicitor who is a member of the Society under subsection (1) shall be referred to in this Act as a practitioner member.
—(1) Any of the following persons who applies for membership of the Society in the prescribed manner shall be admitted as a member of the Society:
any advocate and solicitor who does not have in force a practising certificate;
any qualified personordinarily resident in Singapore.
42. The Council may elect as honorary members of the Society such persons as it may think fit, either for life or for such period as the Council may in any case consider appropriate.
—(1) Subject to this section and section 44, all members shall have the same rights and privileges.
(2) Only practitioner members shall be eligible to attend and vote at any general meeting but only those practitioner members who are citizens of Singapore shall be elected to the Council.
(3) Practitioner members may by a resolution exclude from a general meeting of the Society or any part thereof all other members.
—(1) Subject to subsection (2), any member of the Society, other than an honorary member, may in the prescribed manner, and upon such grounds, after being given a reasonable opportunity to answer all allegations made against him —
be expelled from membership; or
be deprived of any one or more rights and privileges of membership.
(2) A practitioner member shall not be expelled from membership so long as he has in force a practising certificate.
45. Any member of the Society, other than an honorary member, who ceases to be qualified for membership shall thereupon cease to be a member.
—(1) The amount of the annual subscription payable by members of the Society shall, subject to subsection (4), be fixed from time to time by the Counciland shall be payable to the Society by every solicitor in each year prior to his application for a practising certificate.
(2) In fixing the amount of the subscription, the Council shall be at liberty to divide members into classes, and to provide that different amounts shall be paid by different classes and for different periods and generally to regulate, and to vary from time to time, the subscriptions payable by members or by different classes of members, as the Council may think fit.
(3) The subscriptions payable by members admitted to membership under section 41 shall at no time exceed the lowest subscription payable by practitioner members for the corresponding period.
(4) The Council may from time to time fix levies payable by practitioner members for any of the purposes of the Society.
(5) The total of the subscriptions payable under subsection (1), the levies payable under subsection (4) and the annual contribution payable under section 75 shall not in any calendar year exceed $500 per practitioner member without the approval of a general meeting of the Society.
(6) Within one week of the end of each month, the Society shall, out of each annual subscription received by the Society during that month, pay to the Board —
in the case of a subscription paid by a practitioner member of not less than 5 years’ standing, a sum of $120; and
in the case of a subscription paid by a practitioner member of less than 5 years’ standing, a sum of $60.
—(1) The following persons shall be statutory members of the Council each time it is constituted:
the immediate past President of the Society;
not more than 3 advocates and solicitors appointed by the Minister to sit on the Council; and
not more than 3 advocates and solicitors appointed by the Council to sit on the Council as soon as practicable after it is constituted.
—(1) There shall be 15 elected members of the Council consisting of —
6 practitioner members, each of whom shall be an advocate and solicitor of not less than 12 years’ standing on the day of his nomination for election to the Council;
5 practitioner members, each of whom shall be an advocate and solicitor of under 12 years’ but not less than 7 years’ standing on the day of his nomination for election to the Council; and
4 practitioner members, each of whom shall be an advocate and solicitor of under 7 years’ standing on the day of his nomination for election to the Council.
(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, every elected member of the Council shall hold office as a member of the Council for 2 years.
(3) Subject to subsection (4), a practitioner member who has been struck off the roll or suspended from practising as an advocate and solicitor for a period of 6 months or more or has been convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty shall not be eligible for election or appointment as a member of the Council.
(4) A practitioner member may, after a period of 5 years following the date of his conviction or the date he was reinstated to the roll or the date of the expiry of his suspension, whichever is the later, with the leave of a court of 3 Judges of the Supreme Court, one of whom shall be the Chief Justice, be eligible for election or appointment as a member of the Council.
(5) Where an application for leave under subsection (4) has been refused, the applicant shall not be entitled to make another application under that subsection within a period of 5 years from the date the first-mentioned application was dismissed.
(6) An application for leave under subsection (4) shall be made by motion.
(7) The court of 3 Judges shall not give leave under subsection (4) unless —
notice of intention to apply therefor and all documents in support thereof have been served at least 14 clear days before the date of the hearing on the Attorney-General and on the Society, either or both of whom may be represented at the hearing of, and may oppose, the application;
the applicant satisfies the court that his conduct since his conviction, striking-out or suspension did not make him unfit to be a member of the Council; and
the applicant exhibits affidavits of at least 2 practitioner members who are and have been in active practice in Singapore for a total of not less than 5 out of the 7 years immediately preceding the date of the application attesting to the applicant’s good behaviour from the date of his conviction, striking-out or suspension and stating whether in their opinion he is a fit and proper person to be a member of the Council.
(8) A practitioner member shall, before his appointment or election as a member of the Council, file a declaration with the Society stating that he is not disqualified from holding office as a member of the Council by virtue of subsection (3) or, if he is so disqualified, stating that he has obtained the leave of the court under subsection (4) for election or appointment as a member of the Council.
(9) Any person who contravenes subsection (8) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000.
(10) Whenever it is necessary for any reason whatsoever to elect all the elected members of the Council at an annual election —
3 members specified in subsection (1)(a);
2 members specified in subsection (1)(b); and
2 members specified in subsection (1)(c),
chosen by lot at the first meeting of the Council after such election shall hold office for only one year.
(11) Every elected member of the Council shall be eligible for re-election if he is qualified to be a candidate.
—(1) Every advocate and solicitor who has in force a practising certificate on the date of nomination as provided in section 51 shall vote for the election of the members of the Council as follows:
if he is an advocate and solicitor of not less than 12 years’ standing, he shall vote for the election of the members of the Council under section 49(1)(a);
if he is an advocate and solicitor of under 12 years’ but not less than 7 years’ standing, he shall vote for the election of the members of the Council under section 49(1)(b); and
if he is an advocate and solicitor of under 7 years’ standing, he shall vote for the election of the members of the Council under section 49(1)(c).
(2) Every advocate and solicitor who is required to vote for the election of the members of the Council in accordance with subsection (1) and who fails to do so shall not be entitled to apply for a practising certificate unless he —
satisfies the Registrar that he was not in Singapore at the time of the election or had a good and sufficient reason for not voting at the last election to the Council; or
pays a penalty of $500 which shall be credited to the Compensation Fund established under section 75.
—(1) The Council shall, in the month of September every year, fix and publish before the end of that month —
the date of nomination which shall be in the second week of the month of October that year;
the date of election which shall be in the last week of the month of October that year;
a convenient place in the Supreme Court building or elsewhere where the ballot shall take place; and
the names of 3 scrutineers.
(2) The annual election of the members of the Council shall take place within 21 days after the annual general meeting and shall, subject to section 53, be conducted in such manner as may be prescribed by rules made under section 59 on the date and place fixed by the Council in accordance with subsection (1).
(3) If for any reason whatsoever it is necessary to elect all the elected members of the Council, the Council shall fix and publish —
the date of nomination which shall be not less than 7 days or more than 15 days from the date of the notice notifying members of the election;
the date of the election which shall be not less than 10 days or more than 15 days from the date of nomination;
a convenient place in the Supreme Court building or elsewhere where the ballot shall take place; and
the names of 3 scrutineers.
(4) The election under subsection (3) shall, subject to section 53, be conducted in such manner as may be prescribed by rules made under section 59 on the date and place fixed by the Council in accordance with that subsection.
(5) Any accidental failure on the part of the Council to comply with this section or any rules made with respect to elections to the Council shall not invalidate an election.
52. Every nomination of a candidate for election —
shall be of a person qualified to be a candidate under section 49;
shall be in writing signed by not less than 2 persons qualified in a like manner under section 49 as the candidate nominated; and
shall name only one candidate and his consent shall be endorsed thereon.
—(1) If only so many candidates are nominated for election to the Council as are required to be elected, those candidates shall be deemed to be elected; if fewer, the candidates nominated shall be deemed to have been elected and they together with the statutory members of the Council and the continuing elected members of the Council, if any, shall appoint further members to complete the required number to satisfy the requirements of section 49(1).
(2) If, at any election to be held under section 51(3), no nominations are made for the election of members of the Council, the Chief Justice shall, after consulting the statutory members of the Council, if any, appoint to be members of the Council a sufficient number of persons who satisfy the requirements as to standing set out in section 49(1).
—(1) Every Council of the Society constituted after an annual election shall take office on 1st January after that election and shall hold office until 31st December in that year or, if such is the case, until a Council takes office under subsection (2).
—(1) Any casual vacancy arising among the elected members of the Council shall be filled with all convenient speed by the Council by the appointment of a person qualified under section 49 as may be necessary, and any such new member shall hold office for so long as the member in whose place he is appointed would have held office.
(2) The continuing members of the Council may act provided there is a quorum notwithstanding any vacancy in the Council.
(3) No act done by or by the authority of the Council shall be invalid in consequence of any defect that is afterwards discovered in the election or qualification of the members or any of them.
—(1) There shall be a President, 2 Vice-Presidents and a Treasurer of the Society who shall be elected by —
members and members-elect of the Council taking office in either case on 1st January after an annual election under section 54(1) from amongst those members at a meeting of the Council before that date; or
members of the Council taking office under section 54(2) from amongst those members at the first meeting of the Council.
(2) If any casual vacancy arises in respect of the office of the President, a Vice-President or the Treasurer of the Society, the Council shall, at its next meeting or as soon as possible thereafter, elect one of its members to fill the vacancy.
(3) The President of the Society or in his absence a Vice-President of the Society nominated by the President shall be the chairman of the Council and shall preside at all meetings of the Council and of the Society.
(4) In the absence of the President and the Vice-Presidents of the Society, the Council or the Society, as the case may be, shall elect a chairman from among the respective members.
—(1) A statutory member of the Council shall vacate his office if —
he has been struck off the roll or suspended from practising as an advocate and solicitor or has been convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty;
he becomes of unsound mind;
he is an undischarged bankrupt;
he has entered into a composition with his creditors or a deed of arrangement for the benefit of his creditors; or
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.
(2) An elected member shall vacate his office in any of the circumstances specified in subsection (1) and shall also vacate his office if —
being elected under section 49(1), he ceases for any reason to have in force a practising certificate;
he resigns his seat on the Council; or
he is absent from 3 consecutive meetings of the Council without its consent.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), a person appointed under section 53(1) and (2) or 55(1) shall be deemed to have been elected under section 49(1).
—(1) The management of the Society and of its funds shall be vested in the Council.
(2) All such powers, acts or things as are not by this Act expressly authorised, directed or required to be exercised or done by the Society in a general meeting may, subject to the provisions of this Act or any resolution passed from time to time by the Society in the general meeting, be exercised or done by the Council.
(3) No resolution of the Society passed under subsection (2) shall invalidate the previous exercise of any power or the previous doing of any act or thing by the Council which would have been valid if the resolution had not been passed.
—(1) Without prejudice to the general powers conferred by section 58 or the specific powers to make rules conferred by any other provision of this Act, the Council shall have power —
to make rules to provide for all matters not expressly reserved to the Society in general meeting whether they are expressed among its powers or not;
to answer questions affecting the practice and etiquette of the profession and the conduct of members thereof;
to take cognizance of anything affecting the Society or the professional conduct of its members and to bring before any general meeting of the Society any matter which it considers material to the Society or to the interests of the profession and make any recommendations and take such action as it thinks fit in relation thereto;
to examine and if it thinks fit to report upon current or proposed legislation submitted to it and any other legal matters;
to represent members of the Society or any section thereof in any matter which may be necessary or expedient;
to found prizes and scholarships for students of law and to lay down the conditions for their award as it thinks fit;
to appoint in its discretion such officers, clerks, agents and servants for permanent, temporary or special services as it may from time to time think fit and to determine their duties and terms of service;
to purchase, rent or otherwise acquire and furnish suitable premises for the use of the Society;
to communicate from time to time with other similar bodies and with members of the profession in other places for the purpose of obtaining and communicating information on all matters likely to prove beneficial or of interest to members;
to institute, conduct, defend, compound or abandon any legal proceedings by and against the Society or its officers or otherwise concerning the affairs of the Society and to compound and allow time for payment or satisfaction of any debts due or of any claims or demands made by or against the Society;
to refer any claims or demands by or against the Society to arbitration and to observe and perform every award made as a result of the arbitration and to nominate arbitrators if so requested;
to make and give receipts, releases and other discharges for moneys payable to and for claims and demands of the Society;
to invest and deal with any moneys of the Society from time to time in securities authorised for the investment of trust funds by any written law for the time being in force;
to form or participate in the formation of any company for the purpose of carrying out all or any of the functions of the Society;
from time to time to borrow or raise money by bank overdraft or otherwise by the issue of debentures or any other securities founded or based upon all or any of the property and rights of the Society or without any such security and upon such terms as to priority or otherwise as the Council thinks fit; and
to exercise all such powers, privileges and discretions as are not by this Act expressly and exclusively required to be exercised by the members of the Society in general meeting.
(2) Rules made by the Council under this section shall not come into operation until they have been approved by the Chief Justice.
—(1) The Council may appoint one or more committees for any such general or special purpose as in the opinion of the Council may be better regulated or managed by means of a committee.
(2) The Council may delegate to any committee so appointed, with or without restrictions or conditions, as it thinks fit, the exercise of any functions exercisable by the Council.
(3) The number and term of office of the members of a committee appointed under this section, and the number of those members necessary to form a quorum, shall be fixed by the Council.
(4) A committee appointed under this section may include persons who are not members of the Council.
(5) If the Council delegates to a committee appointed under this section any of the functions exercisable by the Council, at least half the members of that committee (including the chairman thereof) shall be members of the Council.
Power of Council to inspect files of proceedings in bankruptcy of solicitor or winding up of law corporation
61. The Council shall be entitled, without payment of any fee, to inspect the file of proceedings in bankruptcy relating to any solicitor against whom proceedings in bankruptcy have been taken or the file of winding up proceedings against a law corporation and to be supplied with office or certified copies of the proceedings on payment of the usual charge for those copies.
—(1) The Council may on behalf of the Society accept by way of grant, gift, testamentary disposition or otherwise property or moneys in aid of the finances or purposes of the Society on such conditions as it may determine.
(2) Registers shall be kept of all donations to the Society including the names of donors and any special conditions on which any donation may have been given.
(3) All property, moneys or funds donated to the Society for any specific purpose shall, subject to the law relating to charities, be applied and administered in accordance with the purposes for which they may have been donated and shall be separately accounted for.
—(1) The Council may meet at such time and place and as often as may be necessary.
(2) Five members personally present at any meeting of the Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business.
(3) A decision of the majority of the members of the Council present and voting at any meeting of the Council shall be deemed to be a decision of the Council.
(4) The chairman or the person lawfully acting as chairman at any meeting of the Council shall have an original as well as a casting vote.
(5) Subject to any rules of the Society, the Council may regulate its own procedure and in particular the holding of meetings, the notice to be given of meetings, the proceedings thereat, the keeping of minutes and the custody, production and inspection of those minutes.
65. No fees shall be paid to any member of the Council but a member may be reimbursed from the funds of the Society for out-of-pocket and travelling expenses incurred by him in relation to the affairs of the Society.
—(1) Except insofar as may be necessary for the purpose of giving effect to any resolutions or decisions of the Council and any Inquiry Committee, confidentiality shall be maintained in all proceedings conducted by the Council, its staff and the Inquiry Committee.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the Chief Justice or the Attorney-General may require the Council to disclose to him any matter or information relating to any complaint of misconduct or disciplinary action against any advocate and solicitor.
—(1) The Council shall each year convene an annual general meeting which shall be held in the month of October of that year.
(2) At least 10 days’ prior notice of the annual general meeting shall be given to all members of the Society.
(3) Notwithstanding section 54, every Council that ceases to hold office on 31st December in each year shall cause to be prepared and presented to the annual general meeting —
a report on the activities of the Society; and
proper accounts, duly audited, of all funds, property and assets of the Society,
for the year terminating on 31st December immediately preceding that general meeting.
—(1) The Council may convene a general meeting of the Society other than the annual general meeting at such time or times as the Council thinks expedient or necessary.
(2) Any 25 members of the Society may at any time requisition a general meeting by written notice in that behalf signed by them and deposited with the President or a Vice-President of the Society and the Council shall convene a general meeting to be held within 30 days of the deposit.
(3) Such written notice shall specify the object or objects of the proposed meeting.
(4) If the Council fails to convene a general meeting in accordance with the requisition 14 days after such deposit, to be held within 30 days after the deposit, the requisitioning members may convene that general meeting within 2 months after the deposit.
69. At every general meeting, every practitioner member present shall have one vote, and the chairman of that meeting shall also have a casting vote.
—(1) The manner of convening general meetings of the Society and the procedure thereat shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be regulated by by-laws made by the Society.
(2) The by-laws made under this section shall not provide for a quorum at a general meeting other than the annual general meeting of less than 50 practitioner members personally present.