Registration of Foreign Lawyers before the SICC

Registration of foreign lawyers is administered by the Registrar through a Register of Foreign Lawyers. A foreign lawyer may apply for either full registration or restricted registration pursuant to section 36P of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161).

A foreign lawyer who is granted full registration may do all or any of the following:

  1. appear and plead in any relevant proceedings;
  2. appear and plead in the Court of Appeal in any relevant appeal;
  3. represent any party to any relevant proceedings or relevant appeal in any matter concerning those proceedings or that appeal (as the case may be);
  4. give advice, prepare documents and provide any other assistance in relation to or arising out of any relevant proceedings or relevant appeal.

 

A foreign lawyer who is granted restricted registration may do all or any of the following:

  1. appear in any relevant proceedings, solely for the purposes of making submissions on such matters of foreign law as are permitted by the SICC, or the Court of Appeal, in accordance with the Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5);
  2. appear in the Court of Appeal in any relevant appeal, solely for the purposes of making submissions on such matters of foreign law as are permitted by the SICC, or the Court of Appeal, in accordance with the Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5);
  3. give advice and prepare documents, solely for the purposes of making submissions, in any relevant proceedings or relevant appeal, on such matters of foreign law as are permitted by the SICC, or the Court of Appeal, in accordance with the Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5).

 

For more information as to what constitutes “relevant proceedings” and “relevant appeal”, please refer to section 36O(1) of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161) and rule 3 of the Legal Profession (Representation in Singapore International Commercial Court) Rules 2014.

Work Pass Exemptions

From 1 November 2017, a foreign lawyer on the SICC Register of Foreign Lawyers who is registered under section 36P of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161) is exempted from the requirement of having a valid work pass, subject to the fulfilment of several conditions. Before entering Singapore, the RFL should either be engaged as an employee to perform any specified activity in Singapore for an employer or engaged as a self-employed foreigner by a person to perform any specified activity in Singapore for the purpose of gain, such specified activity as defined in section 36P of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161). After arriving in Singapore and before starting to perform the specified activity, the RFL is required to notify the Controller of Work Passes in the Ministry of Manpower, in such form and manner as the Controller may require, of the nature and duration of the specified activity. He/She can submit the e-Notification to Perform Work Pass Exempt Activities here. Thereafter, the exemption shall apply for the first 90 days in a year, or such longer period as the Controller may allow in a particular case.

Details on the work pass exemption and applicable conditions can be found in the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Pass Exemptions – Specified Activities) (Amendment) Notification 2017, which can be accessed here.

The application process

To be registered, a foreign lawyer must make an application to the Registrar and pay the prescribed fees for the application in accordance with the provisions contained in the Legal Profession (Representation in Singapore International Commercial Court) Rules 2014.

The registration process requires the submission of a duly completed application form enclosing all documents stipulated as required in the application form, as well as an affidavit supporting the application. The application forms for full registration and restricted registration, as well as a sample form of the supporting affidavit can be found in the links provided below.

Under rules 5(2) and 6(2) of the Legal Profession (Representation in Singapore International Commercial Court) Rules 2014, every application must be supported by an affidavit of the foreign lawyer which must, among other things, exhibit a certificate issued by a foreign registration authority of the jurisdiction in which the foreign lawyer is based, or the jurisdiction the law of which the foreign lawyer most frequently practises, attesting to the good standing of the foreign lawyer (“the certificate of good standing”). The certificate of good standing should contain statements by the relevant foreign registration authority attesting to the good standing of the foreign lawyer in question, including statements (a) confirming that at the date of the certificate, no disciplinary proceedings are pending or contemplated against the foreign lawyer and that the foreign lawyer’s professional conduct is not under investigation and (b) confirming that there has been no record of any professional misconduct or proceedings against the foreign lawyer or, if the foreign lawyer has a record of professional misconduct or proceedings, stating what the charges / proceedings against the foreign lawyer were and the results of those charges / proceedings. The certificate of good standing must be issued not earlier than 6 months before the date on which the application is made.

In addition to the certificate of good standing, all the other requirements under rules 5 and 6 of the Legal Profession (Representation in Singapore International Commercial Court) Rules 2014 must be complied with in an application for registration with the SICC.

The form of the supporting affidavit must comply with Order 41 of the Rules of Court (Cap 322, R5) and paragraphs 57 and 59 of the Supreme Court Practice Directions. You may wish to make reference to the sample form of the supporting affidavit in the relevant link provided below. The Rules of Court and the Supreme Court Practice Directions may also be accessed at the following links:

Submission of applications

Registration is open and interested foreign lawyers may apply to register with the SICC at any time. The application may be submitted to the attention of the “SICC Registry” together with the prescribed fee in one of the following ways:

  1. by online submission through the eLitigation website at https://www.elitigation.sg/home.aspx;
  2. by way of email to SUPCOURT_SICCRegistry@supcourt.gov.sg;
  3. by facsimile transmission to +65 6337 9450;
  4. by post; or
  5. by hand at the counter of the SICC Registry.

 

The time taken for an application to be processed is estimated to be no more than 14 days after the date when all information required to process the application is submitted to the Registrar. Every successful registration is generally valid for a period of one year and is renewable upon an application made to the Registrar.

The application fee for every full, restricted and renewal of foreign lawyer registration is S$300.

Payment of the prescribed fee may be made in one of the following ways:

  1. Credit card payment (only by Visa or Mastercard) in an online submission through the eLitigation website.
  2. Bank draft or telegraphic transfer to the following bank account: 
    Bank Name United Overseas Bank
    Coleman Branch
    Account Number 302-311-987-9
    Account Name Registrar Supreme Court/AG
    Swift Code UOVBSGSG
    Bank Address 1 Coleman Street #01-14 & #B1-19
    The Adelphi
    Singapore 179803
  3. In person at the Supreme Court cashier’s counter at Level 2 of the Supreme Court building (1 Supreme Court Lane, Singapore 178879) by:
    1. Credit card (only by Visa or Mastercard);
    2. Nets / Cashcard;
    3. Cash; or
    4. Cashier’s order (made payable to “Registrar Supreme Court / AG”).

 

Forms, samples and guides

Click here to download the application form for full registration.

Click here to download the application form for restricted registration.

Click here to download the application form for renewal of full registration.

Click here to download the application form for renewal of restricted registration.

Click here to download a sample form of the affidavit to be filed in support of an application for full registration and/or restricted registration.

Click here to view a step-by-step guide on how to register by online submission through the eLitigation website as a foreign lawyer with the SICC.