—(1) This Part, with the exception of this section and sections 82, 90, 91, 91A, 94A, 98 to 102, 104, 105 and 106, shall not apply to any legal officer or any advocate and solicitor who does not at the time of the misconduct have in force a practising certificate (referred to in this section as a non-practising solicitor).
[41/93; 20/2007; 19/2008]
(2) All legal officers and non-practising solicitors shall be subject to the control of the Supreme Court and shall be liable on due cause shown to be punished in accordance with this section.
(3) Such due cause may be shown by proof that a legal officer or a non-practising solicitor, as the case may be —
has been guilty in Singapore or elsewhere of such misconduct unbefitting a legal officer or an advocate and solicitor as an officer of the Supreme Court or as a member of an honourable profession; or
has been adjudicated bankrupt and has been guilty of any of the acts or omissions mentioned in section 124(5)(a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (h), (i), (k), (l) or (m) of the Bankruptcy Act (Cap. 20).
(4) No application for a legal officer or non-practising solicitor to be punished under this section shall be made unless leave has been granted by the Chief Justice for an investigation to be made into the complaint of misconduct against the legal officer or non-practising solicitor concerned.
(5) An application for such leave shall be made by ex parte originating summons and shall be accompanied by an affidavit setting out the allegations of misconduct against the legal officer or non-practising solicitor.
(6) Where the Chief Justice is of the opinion that the applicant has made out a prima facie case for an investigation into his complaint, the Chief Justice may grant such leave and appoint a Disciplinary Tribunal under section 90.
(6A) Notwithstanding subsection (6), the Chief Justice may refuse to grant leave for an investigation to be made into a complaint of misconduct against a legal officer or non-practising solicitor if the application for such leave is made after the expiration of the period of —
6 years from the date of the alleged misconduct; or
where the complaint relates to any fraud alleged to have been committed by the legal officer or non-practising solicitor, 6 years from the earliest date on which the applicant discovered the fraud or could with reasonable diligence have discovered it, if that period expires later than the period referred to in paragraph (a).
(7) The Disciplinary Tribunal shall hear and investigate into the complaint and submit its findings of fact and law in the form of a report to the Chief Justice.
(8) A copy of the report shall be supplied to the legal officer or non-practising solicitor concerned, and to the Attorney-General if the report relates to a legal officer.
(9) Where the Disciplinary Tribunal finds that no cause of sufficient gravity for disciplinary action exists under this section against the legal officer or non-practising solicitor concerned, the Chief Justice shall dismiss the complaint.
(10) Where the Disciplinary Tribunal finds that cause of sufficient gravity for disciplinary action exists under this section against the legal officer or non-practising solicitor concerned, the Chief Justice may appoint an advocate and solicitor or a legal officer to apply by summons in the same proceedings for an order that the legal officer or the non-practising solicitor concerned be struck off the roll, prohibited from applying for a practising certificate, censured or otherwise punished.
(11) Section 98 shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to any application under subsection (10).
(12) On completion of the hearing of the application under subsection (10), the court may —
censure the legal officer or non-practising solicitor;
prohibit him from applying for a practising certificate for such period not exceeding 5 years as it may specify;
order that his name be struck off the roll;
order him to pay a penalty of not more than $20,000; or
make such other order as it thinks fit.
(13) The costs of and incidental to any proceedings under this section shall be in the discretion of the Disciplinary Tribunal, Judge or court hearing those proceedings.
(13A) A Disciplinary Tribunal may, in making any order on costs under subsection (13), specify the amount of those costs or direct that the amount be taxed by the Registrar.
(14) Subject to this section, the Rules Committee may make rules for regulating and prescribing the procedure and practice to be followed in connection with proceedings under this section and in the absence of any rule dealing with any point of procedure or practice, the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5) may be followed as nearly as the circumstances permit.
(15) For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this section shall prevent any legal officer from being subject to disciplinary action by the Legal Service Commission for any act or omission which constitutes a disciplinary offence under this section.