Singapore Minister for Law signs legal cooperation MOU with China

During his recent visit to China, Singapore Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam held a bilateral meeting with Chinese Minister of Justice Fu Zhenghua. Both sides emphasised the progress in legal cooperation that has been made over the past few years.

In accordance with the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s agreement in November 2018  to bring legal cooperation to a new and higher level, the two ministers signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Law and the Chinese Ministry of Justice, establishing a Singapore-China Legal Cooperation Council that will convene biennially at the Vice-Minister level, alternating between Singapore and China.

The MOU follows past agreements and programme launches that we have covered in past newsletters.

Read more about the official visit and the agreement.


Singapore launches ‘China-Ready Programme’ to deepen legal services cooperation with China.

The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) in Singapore, has recently launched a new programme targeting the legal industry. The educational programme is designed to help Singaporean legal professionals understand Chinese culture, business environment, legal systems and laws, as well as improving their understanding of Mandarin used in a legal context.  The programme, as well as a series of secondments and networking events, is part of MinLaw’s three-pronged strategy helping to increase opportunities in the legal services market between China and Singapore.

The programme hopes to meet the growing Chinese market for legal services. China has been Singapore’s largest trading partner and Singapore has been China’s largest foreign investor for six consecutive years since 2013. Whilst in 2018, Singapore was the largest foreign investment destination for China along the Belt and Road, capturing close to 23% of total investment flow from China to Belt and Road countries. Whilst the launch is well-timed to meet the signing of the Singapore Convention on mediation.

More information on the programme, which will be developed and delivered by the Han Culture & Education Group (HCEG), which is a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is available here.


Event: 2018 Legislative Drafting Conference

13-14 September 2018

The Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice is hosting its bi-annual Legislative Drafting Conference – “Charting Legislative Courses in a Complex World”. The Conference will tackle one of the most pervasive challenges in modern legislation: complexity, beginning with its principal drivers in public policy. Why does our world generate legislative complexity? And how can legislation address this complexity intelligibly, coherently and effectively? Conference sessions will also focus on examples of today’s complexity challenges in international trading relationships, cannabis de-criminalization and the interaction of state law with indigenous legal traditions. Other sessions will focus on pragmatic drafting solutions to particular facets of these challenges, such as interjurisdictional coherence, resolving policy blockages, drafting for clients with limited policy-resources and achieving legislative coherence over time. The conference will include a wide range of speakers from Canada, the UK and beyond.

13-14 September 2018

Ottawa, Ontario

Read the Program Here

Register Here


New York City Bar Association E-Discovery Working Group publishes guide on cross-border e-Discovery


The New York City Bar Association’s E-Discovery Working Group issued a report examining the challenges of conducting discovery when the scope of discovery exceeds US borders. The Committee lays out the most common circumstances in which cross-border discovery would occur, including issues of personal jurisdiction over foreign parties as well as cases of US subsidiaries of foreign parent company. It discusses a number of regulations, statutes and treaties that govern cross-border discovery. The Committee also considers laws of foreign entities, including the GDPR in the Europe Union, as well as US case law that may restrict cross-border discovery. It concludes with a set of best practices for navigating foreign law that restricts discovery.

Read the full report 


D.C. Bar seeking views on changes to Rule 46

In May we reported that the D.C. Bar Board of Governors had submitted proposed amendments to certain provisions of Court of Appeals Rule 46.  This Rule governs admission of non-ABA-accredited law school graduates, including foreign-educated individuals, to the D.C. Bar.  Michael Rybak, Senior Staff Attorney of the Office of Regulation Counsel at the D.C. Bar has been in touch to inform ICLR members that on May 31, 2018, the D.C. Court of Appeals published a notice for public comment on the D.C. Bar’s proposed amendments to Rule 46. Written comments are invited from interested parties, including other legal regulators who may be particularly keen to address the following questions:

  • (1) To what extent, if any, should considerations of reciprocity play a role in the admission of foreign-educated lawyers to the D.C. Bar?
  • (2) Should the rules permitting admission to the bar of graduates of domestic law schools not accredited by the American Bar Association be different from the rules applicable to graduates of foreign non-accredited law schools?

Views must be submitted to the Court of Appeals by July 31, 2018.
Read the Court’s notice for public comment (M-261-18) and other relevant materials here.


Help for Singapore lawyers to venture overseas

Earlier this year the Ministry of Law (MinLaw), the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore launched a new programme to help Singapore lawyers and law firms venture overseas. Called “Lawyers Go Global”, the programme will connect Singapore legal expertise with global opportunities, through overseas mission trips, training, and branding and marketing.  The “Lawyers Go Global” programme implements the recommendation of the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) Working Group on Legal and Accounting Services and is aligned to the Professional Services Industry Transformation Map (ITM) to catalyse the internationalisation of local law firms. It is part of MinLaw’s broader effort for Singapore to capture a greater share of international demand for legal services and enhance Singapore’s position as an international legal hub.

Read more about this initiative


Free Movement of Services: Challenges to the Implementation of Cross-border Legal Practice within EAC

The Protocol Establishing the East African Community Common Market, 2010 guarantees free movement of services supplied by nationals of Partner States, and the free movement of services and suppliers who are nationals of the Partner States within the EAC. This implies that the persons supplying services should be able to supply the services to the consumers in other Partner States without discrimination. Cross-border legal practice largely involves an advocate performing legal professional work beyond his or her home state. An advocate can offer legal services outside his or her country where he or she is licensed to practice. This article examines the legal service as a commodity under international trade. By extension, it looks at cross-border legal practice within the EAC Common Market and the challenges to its implementation. It concludes by noting that there is need for the promotion of cross border legal practice in an integrated EAC.

Citation: Lumumba, Fleming Omondi, Free Movement of Services: Challenges to the Implementation of Cross-Border Legal Practice within EAC (November 6, 2017).

Download paper


Profile of a regulator: Gene Shipp Jr.

Wallace E. “Gene” Shipp Jr. is retiring as head of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the District of Columbia after nearly 37 years of service.  In 2016 Shipp was the recipient of the American Bar Association’s Michael Franck Professional Responsibility Award, he was also a popular and active member of the ICLR community.  Recently, Shipp was interviewed by the Washington Lawyer to reminisce on how the disciplinary system has evolved over the course of his career.  The full article can be read here but below are some edited highlights:

How things have changed…

When Gene first joined the D.C. attorney disciplinary system in 1980, there were three or four secretaries and about five lawyers in the office.  The office now has a staff of 35 people, including 18 lawyers and two retired FBI agents who are investigators.  Back then there were 14,000 lawyers in Washington, D.C., now there are 104,000.  Despite the rise in lawyer numbers there has not been a rise in complaints.  At one time they were receiving 1,500 complaints a year and now they receive about 1,000 complaints, they typically docket 400 to 500 of these. They ‘triage’ each complaint and that, along with a significant improvement in the teaching of professional responsibility to lawyers, has helped reduced the numbers

What are three things you are most proud of?

  • I am proud of the mission that the court has given us — to protect the public — and the professionalism and dedication that the staff brings to it.
  • I am proud of the width and breadth that this office is able to undertake.  There isn’t a kind of law — whether it’s immigration law, uptown conflict law, big firm law, anti-dumping law — where we can’t do the job.
  • I am proud of the fact that we are able to assist lawyers in regaining their ethical footing, not just simply yell at them, but to put them into the kind of services they need so we, hopefully, never see them again.

How do you see the office progressing in the future?

D.C. is the reciprocal capital of the world and it is becoming increasingly international. We’ve needed assistance in 19 cases where the conduct occurred somewhere outside the United States. We’ve expanded our partnerships with international disciplining agencies all over the world from Singapore to South Africa to Great Britain to Europe. We now can pick up the phone and find out things we could never find out before and have a much more robust investigation.

What’s next for Gene Shipp?

I hope one of these days to retire to the family farm. I have 60 acres and three John Deere tractors in the Shenandoah Valley waiting for me. My mom and my wife have put out 11 flower gardens. You can’t get a better situation than having your folks alive at 93, and we have a wonderful time on the weekends. I think that I am going to leave lawyers alone for a while. It’s been a great gig, but there’s only so much fun one individual should be allowed to have.