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Applying to Set Up a New Foreign Law Practice or Representative Office

Updated: Sep 7

Apply for a Licence or Registration for a New Law Practice Entity


A Foreign Law Practice (“FLP”) is allowed to provide in or from Singapore:


- Foreign law-related legal services in all areas of legal practice that the FLP is competent to offer; and


- Singapore law-related legal services only in the limited context of international commercial arbitration or in relation to the Singapore International Commercial Court (“SICC”), through certain types of registered lawyers.


A law practice based outside Singapore can set up a Representative Office (“RO”) to undertake only liaison or promotional work in or from Singapore.


An RO is not allowed to provide any legal services or conduct any other business activities in Singapore. In particular, it is not allowed to provide legal advice, conclude contracts or open or negotiate any letters of credit.


A FLP can be structured as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership or company, and is required to apply for a law firm licence, limited liability law partnership licence or law corporation licence as applicable.


Apply for a Licence or Registration for a New Law Practice Entity

To apply for a licence for a new Foreign Law Practice ("FLP") or Representative Office ("RO"), please follow the steps below.


1. Login to LSRA (Legal Services Regulatory Authority) e-Services using SingPass

If you are not eligible for SingPass, you can approach Bestar, a corporate services provider.


2. Complete and submit application form and pay application fee

The completed application form must be signed by the Managing Partner / Managing Director / Manager (or equivalent) of the proposed law practice entity. It must also be signed by the Managing Partner / Managing Director (or equivalent) of the parent law practice.


3. Receive outcome of application

The application may take about 3-16 weeks to process.


4. Register entity with ACRA

If the application is approved, the LSRA will issue you an in-principle approval letter. You will then need to register the business entity with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”).


ROs do not need to register with ACRA. For ROs, a UEN will be issued by the LSRA.


5. Update UEN and pay licence/registration fee

Once ACRA approves the business entity and issues the UEN, you should login to LSRA e-Services, retrieve the application from myDashboard, update the UEN, upload the professional indemnity insurance document (if available), and pay the licence/registration fee. The professional indemnity insurance document can also be uploaded via an update application via myDashboard.


ROs do not need to update their UEN in LSRA e-Services.


6. Receive licence/certificate

LSRA will issue the licence/certificate after verifying the UEN and payment.


After LSRA has issued the licence/certificate, it can also be downloaded anytime from myDashboard.


Any foreign lawyer can now apply for Certificates of Registration.


Types of Individual Registration

Registration of a foreign lawyer to practise Singapore law and/or foreign law in Singapore: Section 36B

The Registrant must be a “foreign lawyer”. The Registrant intends to provide legal services in or from Singapore, and has passed or been exempted from taking the Foreign Practitioner Examinations.


A “foreign lawyer” is defined under section 2 of the Legal Profession Act as an individual who is duly authorised or registered to practise law in a state or territory other than Singapore by a foreign authority having the function conferred by law of authorising or registering persons to practise law in that state or territory.


The registrant is permitted to practise


- Foreign law; and/or


- Singapore law in the “permitted areas of legal practice” to the extent to which the law practice is permitted to practise under the Legal Profession Act


in Singapore.


If the Registrant intends to be a director, partner (including associate directors and salaried partners) or shareholder in, or to share in profits of, a Singapore law practice, he is required to submit an application for Approval to Hold Interests via LSRA eServices.


The length of registration is 1 year (1 April to 31 March).


Registration of a foreign lawyer to practise foreign law in Singapore: Section 36C

The Registrant must be a “foreign lawyer”. The Registrant can, in addition, be dual qualified as a Singapore solicitor.


The Registrant intends to provide legal services in or from Singapore. The Registrant is permitted to practise foreign law in Singapore.


If the Registrant intends to be a director, partner (including associate directors and salaried partners) or shareholder in, or to share in profits of, a Singapore law practice, he is required to submit an application for Approval to Hold Interests via LSRA eServices.


The length of registration is 1, 2 or 3 years.


Register an Individual

To register a lawyer under Section 36B or 36C of the Legal Profession Act, please follow the steps below.


1. Login to LSRA e-Services

Please login to Government-to-Business (G2B) digital services in Singapore.


2. Complete and submit application form and pay application fee

The completed application form must be signed by the Registrant and the Managing Partner / Managing Director or Partner / Director (or equivalent) with the requisite authority of the applicant law practice entity.


3. Receive outcome of application

The application may take about 3-6 weeks to process.


4. Pay registration fee

If the application is approved, login to LSRA e-Services, retrieve the application from myDashboard, and pay the registration fee.


5. Receive CoR

The LSRA will issue the Certificate of Registration (“CoR”). The CoR can also be downloaded from myDashboard by logging in to LSRA e-Services.


6. Apply for a valid work pass with MOM

All foreigners who intend to work in Singapore must have a valid work pass before they commence employment. To find out whether the foreigner is eligible for Employment Pass, and how to apply, please visit website.


Approval to Share Premises

Use of Address as (a) ACRA’s registered address, and/or (b) principal place of business (on LSRA’s records)

A law practice that wishes to share, occupy or use premises jointly with another law practice, or an entity that is not a law practice, must ensure that it:

  • Preserves its professional independence, by keeping itself separate and distinct from the other entity;

  • Is clearly identified as separate and distinct from the other entity; and

  • Safeguards its clients’ confidential information by preventing unauthorised access by the other entity


Use of Residential Address

Approval from LSRA is not required, provided the law practice entity submits a letter of undertaking that the law practice entity will restrict access to, and maintain the confidentiality of, clients’ files, court documents (for Singapore law practices) and information at the premises, via LSRA e-Services.


Law practice entities are reminded to obtain separate approval from HDB or URA if they wish to operate out of residential address.


Use of Non-Residential Address, which is shared, used or occupied jointly with unauthorised persons (including co-working spaces, corporate secretarial service providers or serviced offices)

To apply for approval from LSRA to share premises, the entity should complete the section in the online application to the LSRA for a new law practice licence, providing details of the arrangement in the “Sharing of Premises” section of the online form.


The list of supporting documents required as part of the application include the following:


- An undertaking that the applicant law practice entity will restrict access to, and maintain the confidentiality of, clients’ files, court documents (for Singapore law practices) and information;


- A written confirmation from the other entity acknowledging the obligations of the applicant law practice entity; and


- The floor plan layout of the shared premises, clearly indicating the areas to be occupied by each entity, the common areas to be used jointly by both entities, and the points of entry/access to each area (for physical sharing of premises).


Fees

The application fee can be found in the First Schedule of the Legal Profession (Law Practice Entities) Rules 2015.


The licence/registration fee can be found in the First Schedule of the Legal Profession (Law Practice Entities) Rules 2015.


The application fee can be found in the Second Schedule of the Legal Profession (Regulated Individuals) Rules 2015.


Application fee for application for registration of a foreign lawyer under section 36B of the Act, for a period of 12 months or shorter $110


The registration fee can be found in the Second Schedule of the Legal Profession (Regulated Individuals) Rules 2015.


Fee for a foreign practitioner certificate, or for renewal of a foreign practitioner certificate, for a period of 12 months or shorter$50


https://sso.agc.gov.sg/SL/LPA1966-S701-2015?DocDate=20170914&ProvIds=Sc2-



Application fee: SGD 110 (per year of registration)


Certificate fee: SGD 50 (per year of registration)


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