Singapore (PRWEB) July 06, 2012
In a bid to liberalize legal services in Singapore and in turn, boost the republic’s reputation as a vibrant legal hub, Singapore’s Ministry of Law (MinLaw) has this week opened the second round of applications for the Qualifying Foreign Law Practice (QFLP) license.
Singapore’s Law Minister Mr. K Shanmugam has announced that the Republic will award more QFLP licenses to foreign law firms by 2013.
The QFLP licensing program, which commenced in 2008, has approved six international law firms including Allen & Overy, Herbert Smith and Norton Rose to practise and render services in approved areas such as commercial and corporate law during the first round of applications.
“The QFLP license puts firms at a great advantage in comparison to other international firms in Singapore that are either allowed to practice Singapore law only if they team up with a local firm and in certain areas such as corporate and finance or barred from practising Singapore law completely,” said Mr. Satish Bakhda, Head of Operations at Rikvin, a Singapore company registration specialist.
The applications will be assessed by an Evaluation Committee and a Selection Committee. The committees will take into account factors such as the number of lawyers who will be based in the Singapore office as well as the areas of law and the legal services that the Singapore office will practise.
In addition, the committees will also consider the firm's track record, the amount of offshore work it will handle and the extent to which the Singapore office will function as regional headquarters.
Upon approval, the licensees will have up to six months to set up a Singapore office to ensure that their QFLP licences will be valid for an initial period of five years from then.
Rikvin anticipates that the QFLP program will encourage more established law professionals to relocate to Singapore via the Singapore work visa or Singapore Personalized Employment Pass.
“Singapore’s legal industry has seen an annual growth rate of 10% for the past five years. There are more than 100 international law firms in Singapore. Additionally, data from Bloomberg has shown that the number of foreign lawyers in Singapore has doubled over the last four years - from 633 in 2007 to 1,200 at the end of 2011.”
"In light of these trends, and via the second round of QFLP applications, the Singapore law industry is set to carve a larger slice of the international market. New international law firms into Singapore will complement the local law industry. In turn, Singapore will be in good stead to lead global dialogues relating to law and business and this in turn serves to boost Singapore’s reputation as an esteemed business epicenter,” affirmed Mr. Bakhda.
The application process ends on 31 August 2012, 4pm and MinLaw will announce the new licence awardees by the end of this year.
Established in 1998, Rikvin has since partnered with thousands of investors, entrepreneurs and professionals in their pursuit to access business opportunities overseas. Rikvin’s areas of expertise include company incorporation, offshore company setup, accounting, taxation and other related corporate services. Rikvin is also a licensed employment agency with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and offers a full spectrum of Singapore work visa services for foreign professionals who wish to relocate to Singapore.
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