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22 August 2017

Law Firm Discipline in Singapore

Daryl Xu

Published on e-First 22 August 2017

Abstract:
Corporate liability for an employee or officer’s wrongdoing is not a controversial concept in Singapore. However, it has largely yet to find clear application to the realm of legal professional ethics and ethical breaches by lawyers. By and large, where there are ethical breaches, it is the individual lawyer who is disciplined, and not the firm in which he practices. This article seeks to introduce the Singapore reader to “law firm discipline”, the concept of disciplining law firms as entities to ensure compliance with legal ethics rules, and explores, by reference to the existing regime, the extent to which they have or have not, knowingly or unknowingly, been embraced and adopted in Singapore. In this regard, it is suggested that simple reforms to the existing regime can be adopted to create a coherent and functional application of law firm discipline in Singapore.