Undoubtedly there are numerous licenses and permits in Singapore which you can acquire depending on the eligibility criteria and use. Many people might not be completely aware of the few license types and a quick overview of that.
But now you do not need to worry as in this article we have outlined every detail about the license and a quick description on each.
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1 Types of license
Types of license
There are several types of licenses that you can acquire in Singapore. Let’s have a look at the types of licenses in Singapore along with their respective descriptions.
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Singapore Law Practice – Law Firm, Limited Liability Law Partnership or Law Corporation
Sections 131, 138, and 153 of the Legal Profession Act
Description: Singapore Law Practices (“SLPs”) are permitted to provide the following services in or from Singapore:
- Legal services relating to Singapore law in all areas of practice; and
- Legal services related to foreign law in all areas of law that the SLP is authorized to provide.
SLPs can be organized as sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability partnerships, or companies should apply for law firm licensing, limited liability law partnership licensing, or law corporation licensing as applicable.
SLPs must meet the threshold requirements outlined in rule 3 of the Legal Profession (Law Practice Entities) Rules 2015 throughout the term of their license. As part of the threshold requirements, the foreign lawyers may be barred from practising in the SLP, being directors, partners, or shareholders of the SLP, or participating in its profits.
Foreign Law Practice
Section 172 of the Legal Profession Act
Description: A foreign law firm (“FLP”) can provide the following legal services in or from Singapore:
- The FLP provides foreign law related legal services within all areas of legal practice of which it is capable; and
Qualifying Foreign Law Practice Section 171 of the Legal Profession Act
The Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (“QFLP”) was introduced a few years ago in 2008, and it also grants foreign law practices holding QFLP license to provide the following service in or from Singapore:
- Generally speaking, all areas of law that the QFLP is competent to practice concerning foreign law; and
- The practice of Singapore law through certain types of registered lawyers within the “permitted areas of practice” of Singapore law.
The QFLP license is granted only after an application and selection process.
Currently, QFLP is not open for applications, and no further details regarding subsequent rounds are available.
Joint Law Venture
Section 169 of the Legal Profession Act
Description: Joint Law Ventures (JLVs) are referred to as the organisation formed through the merger or collaboration among Singapore Law Practices, Foreign Law Practices, and Qualifying Foreign Law Practices.
- Legal services related to foreign law in all areas of legal practice for which the JLV is qualified; and
- Legal services related to Singapore law within specific areas of permitted practice by certain types of registered lawyers.
You should indeed note down that respective FLP/QFLP member only gets entitled to practice laws within or from Singapore via JLV and not in the coordination of any FLP/QFLP constituent.
Formal Law Alliance
Section 170 of the Legal Profession Act
Description: Essentially, a form of law alliance is a collaborative arrangement among law practices in Singapore and abroad that grants them to collaborate while remaining independent. FLAs allow member law firms to share office space, business resources and client data, along with co branding and billing for granted matters. According to the legal profession act, the association members remain distinct entities, however, and are only entitled to render legal service as provided by the respective law practices and lawyers.
As part of the FLA scheme, independent law firms that can deal with equal business partners can form cooperative relationships. As part of the approval process for these applications, the LSRA interprets and applies the relevant legal frameworks.
Part 5 and Division 6 of Part 6 of the Legal Profession (Law Practice Entities) Rules 2015
Singapore group practice is designed defined as the arrangement among one or more Singapore Law Practices (“SLPs”); in contrast, a foreign group practice is considered as the arrangement of one or more Foreign Law Practices (“FLPs”) or Qualifying Foreign Law Practices (“QFLPs”).
As far as Singapore group practice is concerned, it defines an arrangement between at least two Singapore law firms. In contrast, foreign group practice defines an arrangement between two or more foreign law firms or a qualifying foreign law firm.
Section 173 of the Legal Profession Act
Description: Representative Offices (“RO”) is developed by the legal practices that are been done outside Singapore to function only as liaison or promotional work in Singapore or within Singapore.
A representative office is not permitted to offer legal service or conduct any business-related activities within Singapore. In simple words, Legal advice, contract conclusion, or opening or negotiating letters of credit are not permitted.
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