Archive for the ‘Featured Posts’ Category

Would You Leave Your Business Decisions To Chance?

Monday, July 4th, 2016

(Sponsored post)

Running a business isn’t easy as the nature of business itself involves risk, especially when it comes to payment terms offered on credit. As many business transactions are conducted on credit, it’s important for every business owner and organization to make the best decisions when it comes to credit.

But how does one make the right business decisions? More importantly, informed decisions when it comes to credit? The answer is simple: ensure that you have all the information that you need at your fingertips, and that your information is sufficient, accurate and easy to access. This is where the CTOS Compre Report comes in – it’s your one-stop reference when it comes to business credit information, whether it’s your own or that of a potential customer, partner or vendor.

What’s in the CTOS Compre Report?

 The CTOS Compre Report is exactly what the name says it is – comprehensive. It’s a detailed, in-depth compilation of various types of information required to better understand a business. From business registration details to financial information, litigation records, directorship and shareholding information, it’s all there.

Also included in the CTOS Compre report is the complete Banking Payment History of the business in question, including full CCRIS information. That means trade referee listings, dishonoured cheque information and more.

To summarize, the CTOS Compre Report contains the following:

  • Business registration details for ID verification
  • Financial, directorships, shareholder and share capital information
  • Litigation records, legal cases and case details
  • Banking Payment History (with CCRIS Summary, Details, Derivatives and Dishonoured Cheques details)
  • Trade referee listings
  • Historical enquiries about credit evaluation

As Malaysia’s leading Credit Reporting Agency, we’re confident that the information available in our CTOS Credit Report will add immense value to your business and the relevant decision-making processes.

How can the CTOS Compre Report benefit my business?

Knowledge is always empowering. With the right information, you can:

  • Make better, informed business decisions
  • Avoid unnecessary credit risk
  • Have more control and leave less to chance

When you have this much information about the business you’re checking up on, it becomes a breeze to make informed decisions. By identifying potential risk immediately, you’ll be able to improve your risk management process and avert financial loss.

How much is the CTOS Compre Report and how do I purchase it?

The CTOS Compre Report is currently available at RM199 (normal price RM299). To order, please contact us at 03-2722 8882

 

Changes & Challenges: The Corporate Perspective

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

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We are proud to be the media partner of this legal event which are co-organized by the Malaysian Current Law Journal and Bar Council Malaysia.

 

Change, it is said, is the wind in the legal profession and indeed the corporate life. With that, we invite you and members of your organization to register for the 2nd biennial Malaysian Legal and Corporate Conference (MLCC) titled ‘Changes & Challenges: The Corporate Perspective’.

 

The conference brings together members of the legal fraternity and corporate sector under one forum, leveraging on a theme that balances the legal and the corporate needs, to discuss pertinent issues of the day. Please view the conference details at  www.mlcc.com.my

 

4 reasons why You and Your Organization will find MLCC Beneficial:

  • The Conference will deliberate on the most awaited legislation - the New Companies Bill. This bill, as you are aware is likely to be gazetted soon, and the conference constitutes an opportunity to understand your role as operators, minders and policy makers of your company under the new legal framework.Two dignitaries, YA Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong, Federal Court Judge and Yg Bhg Tan Sri Rafidah, Former Federal Minister and Chairperson of Air Asia X will grace the occasion and speak on the topics of “Understanding Appellate Advocacy” and “Branding Corporate Malaysia Internationally” respectively.

    The Conference also features International Guest Speakers who will speak on “Emerging Markets: Conversation with ASEAN Insiders” – opportunities in China and the ASEAN region.

  •  This Conference is HRDF CLAIMABLE under the Normal SBL Scheme.
  •  SPECIAL RATES
    >> 1 delegate RM 1,400
    >> 3 delegates – get 1 FOC – RM 4,800 i.e. RM 1,200 per delegate
  •  Conference package includes a FREE BOOK worth up to RM290

 

Next step:

To register, or speak to our team on how the conference will benefit your organization, you can choose the following options:

  1. Fill in the attached registration form and email to priority@cljlaw.com
  2. Call the MLCC committee at +603-4270 5400

 

Who should attend:

  1. Corporate Counsel, Company Secretaries and Legal Practitioners

The conference covers a wide range of topics from the New Companies Bill, Insolvency, trial advocacy, and Non-Litigation alternatives to disputes

  1. Executives, Directors, business owners, Business consultants, business development professionals

Updates to the Companies Bill, off shore Planning, Investing in China, a talk on Branding Malaysia by Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Forum by ZICOlaw on taking local business regionally, and a special forum on the corporate and legal outlook in the region in the next 5 years

  1. Academics

Keep up to date with the recent development and cross boundary studies and comparison

 

We look forward to your participation in the conference to take full advantage of the line-up of amazing speakers sharing their wealth of experience

Interview with the Managing Partner of the largest law firm in Malacca – Mr Wong Fook Meng (Chee Siah Le Kee & Partners)

Friday, December 12th, 2014

fook meng

This is an exclusive interview with Wong Fook Meng, the Managing Partner of Chee Siah Le Kee & Partners, a firm of 13 lawyers and over 40 support staff in Malacca.

1. Hi Fook Meng, most of the people who visit the E Lawyer website are from Kuala Lumpur and are looking for jobs in Kuala Lumpur. You are one of our clients outside of the Klang Valley. Can you tell us a little bit more about life in Malacca and why you       choose to practice in Malacca? 

I actually started my legal practice in Kuala Lumpur and was working in the law firm of Mah Weng Kwai &Associates. I really enjoyed the robust litigation practice in Kuala Lumpur and Mr Mah was an excellent boss and mentor. However, I decided to relocate to Malacca as it is my hometown.

Practicing in Malacca affords me the opportunity to balance work with other important life commitments. The people in my firm work incredibly hard. But, we are spared the heavy traffic and crowded environment of the big cities. On most days, we can still spend a full evening at home with our loved ones. This is very important especially for those with young families as you get to invest your time and energy to building your family rather than giving them your emotional leftovers.  We also have more time to contribute to worthy causes. Many of our partners provide leadership or play   active roles in charitable organizations, NGO and also the local Bar Committee.

Like most State Bars, the Malacca Bar is a close knitted community of lawyers. You know most of the practitioners in your field of practice and there is a strong sense of community as some of your fellow lawyers become your very close friends. Malacca is also a city which has a lot of historical and cultural heritage and not to mention some of the best culinary specialties in the country (please don’t get me started on the food topic!).  Property prices are also relatively much lower compared to other places such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Baru.

 

2. Please share with us more about your firm e.g. history, areas of practice, current team members & etc?

Our firm was founded by Mr Chee Kong Chi in 1981. Over the years, it had grown to be one of the larger firms outside the Klang Valley. We currently have 13 lawyers and over 40 support staff. We have 3 practice groups : Civil Litigation, Corporate Finance and Commercial Banking and Conveyancing and Retail Banking.

Most of our clients are institutional clients such as financial institutions, public listed companies, property developers, manufacturers, hoteliers, politicians and even non-profit organizations. Many of our clients are captains of industries and entrepreneurs. As such, you rarely have a dull day in the office as you engage with some of the movers and shakers of industries in your daily work.

As an example, we are involved in providing legal services for the Hatten Group and the Kerjaya Prospek Group which had both launched innovative developments which are changing the Malacca property landscape. We are glad to be a part of how entrepreneurs are making a difference in the community in Malacca.

 

3. What is the working culture in your law firm? What values do you embrace in the workplace?

We strive hard to create a strong collegiate spirit within the office. We are like a warm close knitted family where everyone works hard and try not to let the others down. Underpinning our friendly working environment is a solid focus on creating a high performing culture where we go the extra mile to deliver outstanding results to the clients.

Our clients are the driving force behind our practice. As such, we have a very high commitment to deliver high quality legal work and services to our clients. The sense of professionalism and dedication to our tasks is very strongly entrenched in our firm.

People often think that they need to choose between being friendly and productive. We believe in the proposition that we can deliver outstanding work without being abrasive or unfriendly. There is a lot of respect and warmth within the firm and this is the same attitude that we bring with us as we engage with our clients. The “kam cheng” value is one that is consistently practiced in our daily work.

Recently  our tea lady fell ill due to dengue fever. The senior partners of the firm visited her in the hospital and brought along papaya juice and the consultant literally fed her with some Chinese medicinal supplements. During the economic downturn in 2009, we gave out our own “BRIM” of RM500.00 cash assistance to everyone in the firm. At times, when a particular staff cannot locate a missing document, everyone in the firm stop work and help to locate the missing document. These are stories which demonstrate our strong team commitment. It is just part of our firm’s DNA.

We also practice inclusiveness in our workplace. We hired a young adult with learning disability as our internal despatch. He zips around the office delivering documents from one floor to the other. Our team members treat him like one of their own younger brothers and always feed him with food and snacks to the extent that we have to discourage the practice as he was getting obese! We also have physically handicapped team members who do secretarial work.

We also use technology to improve our efficiency. With the smart phones and tablets in our hands, we can stay connected and do quick research on the go. I was recently on a three weeks trip to the United States of America. Our partners are often overseas or outstation. But, we stay connected at all times and monitor important assignments with the aid of technology.

 

 4. It is interesting that you said your team is committed to going the extra mile to deliver results for the clients. A lot of employers complain about Gen Y lawyers being unwilling to go the extra mile. How does CSiLK motivate their young lawyers to go the extra mile?

We always remind our young lawyers that we are a firm of professionals and that our clients’ interests are of paramount importance. We need to work hard to ensure that our clients’ interests are fully protected by the instrument of the law. Also, we need to take pride and ownership in our work as it is a reflection of our own personal character.

Besides that, we also believe that people will work hard when they are properly compensated. The financial returns must commensurate with the amount of time and energies invested. We fully believe in sharing the fruits of our labours together.

Lastly, we create a supporting environment for our young lawyers to learn and grow. People will do their best when they know you genuinely care for their welfare and development, both on a professional and personal level.

 

5. Do you have any talent development or training programmes in your firm for young lawyers?

We believe that our young lawyers represent the future of our firms. We are always looking for talented and dedicated young lawyers who are serious in growing their careers.

We have a lot of internal training both in legal skills and practice development skills. We also send our lawyers for legal seminars and conferences in Kuala Lumpur and other places for them to keep abreast with legal developments. Once a month, we have a Starbucks discussion with our lawyers where we discuss some leadership principles over coffee. In 2013, we had management consultant and author of Barefoot Leadership, Alvin Ung, to conduct a series of leadership development training for our lawyers. We also have Friday lunches where we do legal updates.

But, the most important training is on the job training. Partners will work together with associates on more complex assignments. Through the partnership in working on actual files, we hope to do skill transfer from partners to associates and raise everyone’s game.

The learning is also mutual where partners are also listening to and learning from the young lawyers especially when it comes to technology and understanding how younger clients think and operate.

Our main goal is to support our young lawyers’ career path and help them to grow to be trusted advisors to our clients.

Our firm also believe in continuous development for everyone including the partners. We need to constantly grow our skills and knowledge or face the risk of becoming stagnant or obsolete. Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing two eminent barristers from United Kingdom, Edwin Glasgow QC and Desmond Browne QC for Praxis. I learnt so much from these two gentlemen on how to refine our art of advocacy. Talent development is a daily and never ending process in our firm.

 

6. Are there any “out-of work” activities that you organize for your staff?

The highlight of our firm is the bi annual overseas team building trips. So far, we have been to countries such as South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia and Thailand.  Every confirmed staff in the office is entitled to go for these trips including the tea ladies and the drivers. You can also bring your spouses and children along. Yes, it costs a lot financially but you cannot put a monetary value on forging bonds of trust and friendships within the firm. During these trips, team members often share more deeply about their life stories and all these cement the strength of the relationships within the firm. And it is a great joy to especially have team members’ children in our trips who never fail to brighten up the atmosphere.

 

7. Many young lawyers are looking for jobs which gives them “work-life-balance”, what is your view on this?

What constitutes the ideal work life balance is dependent on each person. Each one of us is unique and have our own individual values that we embrace.

As a rule of thumb, young lawyers who are starting out in practice should invest a greater amount of time in building a strong foundation for their practice. This inevitably will involve longer hours at work. But, if you are interested in your work, investing the time in doing a good job and learning the law is an enjoyable pursuit rather than an endurance test.

If you are able to deliver excellent quality of work over the long haul, then you can earn some flexibility in your schedule. For example, taking a longer vacation or doing pro bono work. Most employers are willing to give you the flexibility for “work life balance” if you are first a high performer in your work.

On a personal level, I am a firm believer in work life balance. One should never sacrifice important things like family, friendships, health and a well-rounded development on the altar of monetary gains. That’s foolish chasing after the wind. There’s a life to be pursued and enjoyed outside the office.

 

8. Can you share with us, what would you look for in a lawyer before you hiring him/her?

Firstly, someone who has a good grasp of basic legal principles, excellent comprehension of facts and issues and the ability to apply legal principles to solve clients’ problems.

Secondly, we look for people who are keen in creating value for others.  Many young lawyers are interested in what they can get instead of what they can give. But, it is only as we create value for clients that the financial and non-financial rewards will come.

Thirdly, the law is a people business. As such, someone with a winsome personality who can engage well with clients will have an added advantage.

On this note, we are in the constant look for talented lawyers and legal secretaries to join our expanding team. Should any want to know more about working with us, please send your application to me directly at wong@csilk.com.my

 

9. I understand that your firm is the largest in Malacca. Can you name 3 significant factors / reasons which get your firm to be where it is today?

Firstly, our non-negotiable value of integrity and honesty. We are highly committed to handling each transaction in a professional manner so that our clients can sleep at peace at night when they entrust their matters and monies to us. In an age when so many people and institutions fail due to a lack of integrity, we have an absolute commitment to be a law firm which can be fully trusted by our clients.

Secondly, our ability to listen to and understand our clients’ business and needs better. We work hard to comprehend our clients’ differing commercial needs and see how to tailor our legal services to help further our clients’ interests within reason and the confines of the law. We work together with our clients on picking the winning strategies for their matters. At the end of the day, our clients look to us as their trusted advisors to help them navigate the troubled waters of litigation or the complex maze of a commercial transaction.

Thirdly, our kam cheng value. We grow and nurture our relationships with our clients and also with each other within the firm. Many of our staff have been with us for more than 20 years. We just enjoy working with each other ( well..at least most of the time!). And, we are always looking for like-minded people who share our values to join us and be part of our growing team. I would love to personally meet or speak to anyone who is interested to start or grow their legal careers in Malacca.

Contract Risk & Dispute Management

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Harvesting maximum benefit from your commercial relationship via effective strategies in commercial risk mitigation and contractual disputes resolution

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 9th & 10th May 2011

Bangkok, Thailand | 10th & 11th May 2011
 
Increasing commercial risk exposures, burden of litigation, heavy cost and time has been wasted on various cancellations and variations to commercial contacts resulting in increasing number of business disputes due to market volatility. Many organisations are looking at alternative ways of minimising and mitigating such instances, thus, considerations in legal risk from the very start is essential to mitigate any possible risk or disputes in the future.
 
The level of strategic focus on contract risk management is generally low and this in itself is a major risk for organisations. Many are now beginning to slowly realise and becoming more active in this aspect. In addition,  successful mediation, arbitration and negotiation is now seen as having a positive dimension, as it not only inexpensive and delivers fast outcome in disputing commercial cases, it benefit towards redefining business relationships.
 
Attend this dynamic 2-day course and benefit your organisation by allowing a greater hold in minimising risk, limiting losses and ensuring clarity from the very beginning whilst gaining the essential knowledge and success strategies in risk allocation, effective negotiation and conflict resolution.
 

Attend this informative event and gain practical insights into:

Identifying hidden risks in your current contracts through comprehensive and systematic review methods that will flag potential liability issues
Reviewing positive and practical steps that can be taken during the course of a contract to prevent and minimise the risks and number of claims
Discussing current tips, strategies and techniques in dispute resolution through mediation
Avoiding or minimising disputes through effective project management and risk assessment plans for contracts
Grasping strategies in enhancing relationships with the contractors and developers to strengthen the partnership
Mastering the art of negotiation and persuasion in winning an argument
Minimising cost contingencies and variations by identifying key contract management risks from the beginning
 

Who should attend:

 CEOs, COOs, Presidents, Vice Presidents, Managing Directors, Directors, General Managers, Senior Managers, Managers, Supervisors, Heads of the following areas:

• Legal Counsel

• Contract Advisors

• Project Professionals

• Procurement and Purchasing Managers

• Mediators

• Legal Advisors

• Lawyers

• Sale & Marketing Managers

• Business Development Managers

From these target sectors:

• Infrastructure & Construction

• Legal Firms

• Oil and Gas

• Petrochemicals and Chemicals

• Real Estate & Properties

• Heavy Industries

• Banking and Finance

• Conglomerates & Family Owned Businesses

• Retailing & Manufacturing

• IT and Telecommunications

 All eLawyer members are entitled to a discount of 10% when registering with Ms. Alexis Nair. For more information and registration, please contact Ms. Alexis Nair at T: +603 2723 6662 or email: alexisn@marcusevanskl.com

COSEC 2009: 4th Annual Company Secretary

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Date: 5th & 6th October 2009
Venue: Parkroyal, KL
Time: 8.30am – 5.30pm
Organiser: Marcus Evans
Contact: 603-2723 6757
Email: CatherineF@marcusevanskl.com
Website: www.marcusevans.com
Brochure:www.marcusevansassets.com/doc/pdfs/Ep_14994.pdf  

Synopsis:

Companies are operating in an environment that will present new opportunities and threats. Many are feeling the impact of the credit crunch, experiencing a different relationship with the regulator, yet they still have to make sure that excellent services are delivered. The professional duties of company secretaries have grown in leaps and bounds. Company secretary thus plays a pivotal role in advising the board of directors concerning disclosures, accountability and transparency issues. Although the company secretary is not involved in managerial task, yet he is implicated as a defaulter or offender of a law by virtue of his position as an officer of the company.

Marcus Evans’ ‘COSEC 2009: 4th Annual Company Secretary’ conference will bring together world class company secretaries to discuss the current concerns in enhancing governance, transparency and accountability standards while adding value to the growth of organisations. Leading industry case studies and best practices will be presented at the event to assist in building effective governance & compliance, managing directors’ and shareholders’ expectations and coping with the evolving responsibilities and liabilities of a company secretary.

This conference also highlights the participation of representatives from local and international companies such as Bursa Malaysia (Malaysia), British Telecommunications Group PLC (UK), Maxis Communication Berhad (Malaysia), StarHub (Singapore), Malayan Banking Berhad (Malaysia), Ayala Corporation (Philippines), Western Power (Australia), Siemens Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (Malaysia), Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (Philippines), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (Australia), KUB Berhad (Malaysia), Nestle Group of Companies (Malaysia), Wah Seong Corporation Berhad (Malaysia), Opus Group Berhad, subsidiary of UEM Group Berhad (Malaysia), HeiTech Padu (Malaysia), SIRIM Berhad (Malaysia) and among others.

For further event details and event brochure, kindly contact Ms. Catherine Foo at the contact details above.

A CONSIDERATION FOR FOREIGN PRACTITIONERS ENTERING THE LEGAL PROFESSION IN MALAYSIA

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009


Written by RODNEY KHOR

The legal profession has always been a highly regulated profession with rules, regulations and codes of conduct binding on members of the profession1. This comes as no surprise due to the nature of the legal profession being very interconnected with the mechanisms of the working of law itself. The general duties among other things include a duty to assist the courts in the administration of justice and this duty overrides the duty towards lay clients.

Despite the profession being highly regulated, there are circumstances that would warrant or attract a foreign practitioner2 to practise law in countries such as Malaysia3. Therefore, this article is narrowed down to concentrate on identifying the possibility for a foreign practitioner to practise law or to provide in-house legal advice in Malaysia.

The admission of legal practitioners in Malaysia is governed by section 114 of the Legal Profession Act 1976 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). The requirements under this section amongst other things require a qualified person5 not to have been convicted in Malaysia or elsewhere of a criminal offence that would render him unfit to be a member of his profession or done any other act which, if being a barrister or solicitor in England, would render him liable to be disbarred, disqualified or suspended from practice. These requirements, one way or another, are common due to
the standard expected of potential legal practitioners.

In addition, he must either be a citizen of Malaysia or a resident of Malaysia and has satisfactorily completed the prescribed period of pupillage6. If a qualified person were to petition to the High Court to be admitted as an advocate and solicitor, there is a requirement that he has passed or is exempted7 from the Bahasa Malaysia8 Qualifying Examination9. This is the main route for admission amongst private legal practitioners in Malaysia10.

The difficulty that most foreign practitioners would face is the requirement under section 11(c), requiring them to be either a citizen or a resident of Malaysia and the Bahasa Malaysia Qualifying Examination requirement under section 11(2). In addition, a foreign practitioner would have to undergo a minimum prescribed period of pupillage of 3 months11. There are limited exceptions12 to this and if the requirements are not satisfied, a foreign practitioner will not be able to gain right of audience in the Malaysian courts13. An established foreign practitioner with many years of experience may find the requirements for pupillage discouraging. However, despite their experience, this requirement is meant to expose them to the Malaysian legal procedures14.

However, the exception that is normally applicable to a foreign practitioner being instructed to appear for a particular case is the admission in special cases under section 18 of the Act. This section enables a foreign practitioner to practise as an advocate and solicitor in Malaysia for a particular case15. However, the court must be of the opinion that for the purpose of the particular case, the foreign practitioner has special qualifications or experience of a nature not available amongst advocates and solicitors in Malaysia and has been instructed by an advocate and solicitor in Malaysia16.

Cherie Booth QC, attempted to rely on section 18(1) applied for an ad hoc admission into the Malaysian Bar after being instructed to appear for a particular case. However, the application was refused by the High Court Kuala Lumpur and it was subsequently appealed to the Federal Court17. The judgment of the court considered the requirement of ‘special qualifications or experience’ by referring to established judicial precedents in Malaysia18. The court subsequently concluded, “special qualifications and experience under section 18(1)(a) of the LPA refers to the particular field of the law which that particular case is related and not in respect of each and every issue that arises in that case19”.

Therefore, if a foreign practitioner is in possession of the requisite qualifications or experience in a particular field of law that is relevant to the particular case that he intends to appear, then he would have satisfied the first requirement under section 18(1)(a) of the Act. However, the second requirement under same section must be satisfied in addition to the first. The special qualifications and experience must not be available amongst advocates and solicitors in Malaysia.

The Federal Court20 subscribed to the observation on the words ‘not available’ by Sharma J in Re S.K. Lee21. The special qualifications or experience that is required under section 18(1)(a) must be of a high degree of quality and type which cannot be found in local lawyers. Therefore, a foreign practitioner will have to persuade the Court22 that his special qualifications and experience satisfies both requirements.

An alternative to practising as an advocate and solicitor in Malaysia is to provide in-house legal advice23. This is a viable alternative for foreign practitioners because the procedures24 are not as stringent comparatively with the former if an arrangement for employment has been secured25. The limitation that most foreign practitioners would have is the knowledge and experience with regard to relevant local laws. However, foreign practitioners with multi-national legal experience may find their legal knowledge and experience useful in assisting companies in their international transactions or investments.

In summary, there are 3 main methods for a foreign practitioner to enter the legal profession in Malaysia. The first method is to gain admission as an advocate and solicitor in Malaysia via the normal route that local practitioners use. However, the difficulty faced under this method may either be due to the language requirement or the residency requirement. The second method is to obtain special admission in particular cases. However, the difficulty that a foreign practitioner will face is to satisfy the requirements under s.18(1) of the Act. Additionally, admission under this route will only be permitted for that particular case. It is therefore not a viable long-term consideration. The third method would be to gain employment to provide inhouse legal advice. Although a foreign practitioner may not practise law locally under this route, he may nonetheless enter the legal profession in Malaysia without the difficulties faced by the previous methods.

Despite the difficulties faced by foreign practitioners to gain admission into the Malaysian Bar, the legal profession in general whether as a practitioner or an inhouse legal advisor has always been a challenging career. This is due to the continuing need to be updated with regard to changes in the law. The law is not stagnant and is ever changing with times, circumstances and society. Therefore, if a foreign practitioner truly does have the passion to practise law in Malaysia, then the methods considered above are worth a consideration.

______________________________________________________________________________________
Footnote:
1 Barristers-at-law are being regulated by the Bar Council (Today, a separate and independent
regulatory body known as the Bar Standards Board regulates barristers-at-law in England and Wales)
and solicitors being regulated by the Law Society. In a country with a fused profession, the regulatory
body may either be the Bar Council such as Malaysia or the Law Society such as Singapore.

2 A foreign practitioner for purposes of this article is defined as a practitioner in possession of legal
qualifications and right of audience outside Malaysia.

3 The legal profession in Malaysia is a fused profession and is governed by the Bar Council. A legal
practitioner in Malaysia is known as an Advocate and Solicitor.

4 s.1(1) Legal Profession Act 1976 is subject to s.14.

5 s.3 of the Act states that “a ‘qualified person’ means any person who (a) has passed the final
examination leading to the degree of Bachelor of Laws of the University of Malaya, the University of
Malaya in Singapore, the University of Singapore or the National University of Singapore; (b) is a
barrister-at-law of England; or (c) is in possession of such other qualification as may by notification in
the Gazette be declared by the Board to be sufficient to make a person a qualified person for the
purposes of this Act.” The Legal Profession Qualifying Board may require foreign practitioners with
certain qualifications to sit for the Certificate in Legal Practice before satisfying paragraph c above.
There are requirements that must be satisfied to sit for the Certificate in Legal Practice. Visit
www.malaysianbar.org.my/admission_requirements.html to determine the entry requirements.

6 See s.12 of the Act on the period of pupilage. However, s.13(3) provides exemption for a qualified
person from any period up to six months subject to the Bar Council’s sole discretion upon satisfactory
evidence that the applicant has amongst other things, engaged in active practice as a legal practitioner by whatever name called in any part of the Commonwealth for a period of not less than six months.

7 A qualified person may be exempted by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board by virtue of s.5(f) and
11(2) of the Act if he has obtained at least a credit in Bahasa Malaysia for his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia

8 Translated in English to mean Malaysian language

9 s.11(2) of the Act.

10 Whether being admitted by virtue of being a qualified person due to a recognised degree in law from
a local public institute of higher learning, a barrister-at-law in England, or being in possession of any
other qualifications that is recognised by the Qualifying Board such as a Certificate in Legal Practice or
a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Judicature, England.

11 The period of 3 months is based on the maximum exemption possible under section 13 of the Act.

12 The only exceptions are the admission in special cases under s.18 of the Act and special admission
certificates issued by the Attorney General under s.28B of the Act.

13 This includes the High Courts and Subordinate Courts.

14 There is also a similar requirement on pupillage amongst other things to admit qualified foreign
practitioners into the Bar of England and Wales under Regulation 36 of the Consolidated Regulations
of The Inns of Court and The General Council of The Bar (November 2008). However, the Transferring Qualified Lawyers Panel of the Qualifications Committee may exempt the applicant from
all or part of the requirements for pupillage.

15 s.18(1), Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the Court may, for the purpose of any one
case and subject to the following subsections, admit to practise as an advocate and solicitor any person who, if he was a citizen of, or a permanent resident in, Malaysia, would be eligible to be admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court.

16 s.18(1)(a) and (b) of the Act.

17 Cherie Booth QC v. Attorney General, Malaysia & 5 others, 2006 [FC]

18 Para. 13 – 15, Ibid.

19 Para. 17, Ibid.

20 Para. 19, Ibid.

21 (1971) 2 MLJ 40

22 The court will consider the relevant issue in the particular case in light of the applicant’s special
qualifications and experience.

23 However, a foreign practitioner providing in-house legal advice who has not been admitted as an
advocate and solicitor in Malaysia will not be able to represent himself as being a qualified practitioner
to practise law locally. The limitations on foreign practitioners are limited to providing in-house legal
advice and not perform any act that would contravene s.37 of the Act.

24 For the procedures, visit http://www.imi.gov.my/eng/perkhidmatan/im_PegawaiDagang.asp

25 An arrangement for employment with a Malaysian law firm may be applicable if the requirements by
the Immigration Department of Malaysia are satisfied. However, the limitations under s.37 of the Act
will still apply because an employment with a Malaysian law firm does not necessarily enable a foreign
practitioner to represent himself as being a qualified practitioner to practise law locally.

UUM Law Graduates are exempted from CLP Exam

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

If you still remember there was a big cry foul over CLP ruling by the UUM law graduates in September 2008. After we have reported it, we have received an open letter written by an annonymous reader (believing to be one of the UUM law graduate) highlighting his/her plight pending the completion of the recognisation process of UUM law degree by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board (LPQB).

This morning, we have again received a comment posted by one of our reader, Ani Munirah, about the recognisation of the UUM law degree by the LPQB.

We reproduce the press statement below (together with the English translation version):

KENYATAAN AKHBAR PADA 23/4/2009

Adalah dimaklumkan bahawa pengiktirafan program Ijazah Sarjana Muda Undang-undang (Kepujian), oleh Lembaga Kelayakan Profesion Undang-undang, Malaysia telah pun diwartakan pada 16 April 2009 dalam warta kerajaan P.U.(B)119 berkenaan pemberitahuan di bawah Seksyen 3 Akta Profesion Undang-undang 1976 [Akta 166].

Notifikasi ini melayakkan pelajar Undang-undang yang telah tamat pengajian Ijazah Sarjana Muda Undang-undang (Kepujian), Universiti Utara Malaysia untuk menjalani latihan guaman mereka (chambering) bermula pada tarikh tersebut.

Universiti Utara Malaysia mengucapkan ribuan terima kasih kepada semua pihak yang telah memberikan kerjasama dan sokongan dalam usaha untuk mendapat pengiktirafan profesional ini.

Daripada:
Prof. Madya Dr Asmah Laili Hj Yeon
Penolong Naib Canselor
Kolej Undang-undang, Kerajaan dan Pengajian Antarabangsa
Universiti Utara Malaysia

PRESS STATEMENT on 23 April 2009 (English transalation)

This is to inform that the recognition of Law Degree (Honours) programme by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board Malaysia have been gazetted on 16 April 2009 in government gazette P. U. (B)119 pertaining to notification under Section 3 of the Legal Profession Act 1976 [Act 166].

This notification qualifies law student who has completed from the Law Degree (Honours) from University Utara Malaysia to undergo pupilage in chamber starting from the date mentioned herein.

University Utara Malaysia express thousands gratitude for those who have rendered cooperation and support in the effort of obtaining this professional recognition.

From:
Associates Professor Dr. Asmah Laili Hj Yeon
Assistant Vice-Chancellor
College of Law, Government and International Studies
Universiti Utara Malaysia

We have further made a call to UUM and have spoken to one of the officer who verified that the press statement was indeed true and we were informed that the same was also reported by 2 local Malay newspaper Kosmo on 18 April and Sinar Harian on 19 April 2009.

You may also read more about this news in the PROUUM Online.

Under section 10 of the Legal Professiona Act:
” The High Court may at its discretion and subject to the Act admits as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court – (a) any qualified person; and (b) any articled clerk who has complied with section 25…”

Section 3 of the Act defines the “qualified person” as any person who-
“(a) has pass the final examination leading to the degreee of Bachelor of Laws of the University Malaya, the University of Malaya in Singapore, the Univeristy of Singapore or the National University of Singapore;

(b) is a barrister-at-law of England;

(c) is in possession of such other qualification as may by notification in the Gazette be declared by the Board to be sufficient to make a person a qualified person for the purpose of this Act”

As such, this case is likely to fall under section 3 (c) of the Act and the relevant UUM law graduates may need to wait for the LPQB to declare them as qualified person before they can proceed to undergoing pupilage in chamber.

Based on our understanding, there were 3 batches of law graduates from UUM thus far. Is this meant that all the previous and future UUM law graduates with honours degree are now qualified to undergoing pupilage in chamber without the need to pass the CLP Exam? or it only applies to the law students who graduate after the gezzatted date?

Common Bar Exam

Friday, April 10th, 2009

(Reproduced with permission of the KL Bar Publications Committee. This article first appeared in Relevan Issue No. 0208)

There has been much discourse lately on whether there should be a common examination for all law graduates before they enter the legal profession. The President of the Malaysian Bar, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevesan, was quoted by the New Sunday Times (April 6, 2006) as saying that there was a need for “…… a common examination for all law graduates entering the legal profession, irrespective of where they had pursued their undergraduate degrees.”

The former Minister of Law in the Prime Minister’s Department is reported to have said (in the New Straits Times, May 15, 2006) that “…… the government was looking into introducing a Bar Vocational Course and whether such a model, practiced in the United Kingdom, could be implemented locally.” Relevan speaks to Steven Thiru, Chairman of the Professional Standards and Development Committee of the Bar Council and a member of the Bar Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Common Bar Course, for his views on these developments :-

Q: Do we need a Common Bar Course (“CBC”) as a single entry point into the legal profession in Malaysia?
A: Yes. It would be an important step in our efforts to improve quality at the Bar. It would enable us to deal with the source of the problem, viz, the general deterioration in legal education. A uniform training scheme, in the form of the CBC, would certainly contribute towards enhancing standards.

Q: Is the Bar Council in favour of the CBC, particularly as a replacement of the Certificate of Legal Practice (CLP) and if so, what steps have the Bar Council taken?
A: The Bar Council has advocated for the CBC since the mid 1980’s. We have consistently taken the stand that the CBC should be the ultimate filter for entry into the legal profession. In May this year the Bar Council set up the Ad-Hoc Committee on the CBC. The Committee consist of experienced practitioners1, a senior academician (and formerly a senior practitioner)2 and the senior manager (standards) of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency3.

Q: Can you tell us about the work of the Bar Council’s Ad-Hoc Committee on the CBC?
A: The Committee’s primary task was to craft the syllabus and course content for the proposed CBC. In this regard, we were required to also consider and implement, where possible, the position taken by the Bar Council in the various working papers on the CBC. These were prepared between 1989 to 2003 and include the Morrison Report (1989), Seeking Quality : Bar Council’s Memorandum on Legal Education Reform And Qualifications For Entry Into The Legal Profession (1993), Report on the Review of the CLP (2002) and Bar Council Memorandum On Legal Education Reform (2003).

Q: Has the Committee completed its work?
A: Yes, we have. We have prepared a draft CBC framework which takes into account the Bar Council’s views over the past two decades. We have also made a number fresh proposals which we believe will revolutionise legal training and put us on par with other modern schemes the world-over. The draft CBC proposal is, however, still work-in-progress as it is pending approval by the Bar Council. It is to be tabled for debate at our next Council meeting on October 11, 2008.

Q: Can you tell us the approach adopted by the Committee?
A: As a starting point, the Committee considered the prevailing post-graduate professional training programmes (ie. for advocates and solicitors/barristers and solicitors) in other commonwealth jurisdictions, namely the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada. The experiences of these other jurisdictions were useful as a guideline. However, the Committee did not lose sight of the fact that the profession in Malaysia is fused. Thus, the draft CBC proposal is not a wholesale reproduction of any one of these other jurisdictions (eg. the Bar Vocational Programme in the United Kingdom). The Committee has nevertheless adopted certain critical aspects of these programmes and inculcated them into the draft CBC proposal.

Q: But, will the CBC be just another CLP with a new label?
A: It would not be. We were conscious of the weaknesses in the CLP. We found it to be outdated and it certainly does not, in our view, serve the requirements of the modern legal profession. Also, a survey of the developments in the other jurisdictions show that there has been a demonstrable shift in focus to practical training based on experiential learning and practical/vocational training. The CLP is, regrettably, still largely mired in the old school academic/black-letter law approach sans practical training.

Q: What is the underlying principle for the proposed CBC?
A: The main principle is that it will serve as a single entry point into the legal profession in Malaysia regardless of where the undergraduate qualification is obtained (locally or from foreign universities/colleges of law). There may of course be a list of recognized universities/colleges of law (local and international) which would be determined by the Legal Qualifying Board. This is consistent with the Bar Council’s stand that “…… the check on quality will not be at the undergraduate level ie. entry into law schools but at the professional entry level ie. professional qualifications for entry into the Bar. Thus the final check would be at the entry level into the legal profession.” (see the Bar Council’s Memorandum On Legal Education Reform of 3.1.2003)

Q: Has the Committee also drawn up the objectives of the proposed CBC?
A: Yes. There are broadly six primary objectives and they are as follows :-
(1) The focus of the CBC should be on skills/practical training (as opposed to testing on legal knowledge) to equip the “student-at-law” for legal practice in Malaysia.
(2) The vocational nature of the training will be complimented with academic (substantive law) elements, only where necessary. Thus, the CBC will not deal with substantive law, which should remain the domain of the universities/law colleges.
(3) The CBC must combine the modern experience of other commonwealth jurisdictions and our peculiar requirements (in a fused profession, with the inherent weaknesses).
(4) The CBC should prepare the “student-at-law” for the first two years of practice.
(5) The CBC should also enable the “student-at-law” to choose (if they so desire) to become either an advocate (litigation) or a solicitor (non-litigation). This is achieved by giving the student-at-law the option to fashion their training to cater for their choice.
(6) The CBC must deal with some of the shortcomings in pupillage and enhance the training during pupillage.

Q: What would be the course structure for the CBC?
A: We have proposed that the CBC be conducted in five semesters over a period of twenty months (inclusive of pupillage). In this regard, the first three semesters will entail full time study whilst the remaining two semesters will be conducted part-time together with pupillage. Further, Semester 1, 2 and 3 will consists of compulsory subjects. In semesters 4 and 5 (where the “students-at-law” would be undergoing pupillage), there would be a mixture of compulsory subjects and electives. As noted earlier, by their choice of the electives, the “student-at-law” (now pupil) can start tailoring their training to suit their preferred choice of practice (litigation or non litigation).

Q: Will the CBC be the death knell for pupillage?
A: The Committee is of the view that pupillage should be retained albeit with a reduction in its duration. In this regard, the Committee has proposed that CBC should run partly parallel with pupillage. As stated above, the student-at-law will undertake the CBC on a full-time basis in the first three semesters. They will then begin their pupillage and continue with semesters four and five of the CBC on a part-time basis. The incorporation of pupillage into the CBC will hopefully deal with some of the shortcomings in the training of our pupils. It will allow pupils to easily compare the level of training that they are receiving from their masters with their peers. Moreover, if there are weaknesses, the dual effect of “peer-learning” and participation in the part-time CBC programme would provide a safety net.

Q: How would the CBC deal with the crescendo of complaints that we hear about the legal profession today?
A: It is a matter that we considered carefully. Thus, the first three semesters essentially deal with aptitude, ethical values, basic legal skills and core areas of practice. These are the bedrock of legal practice in Malaysia and are intended to ensure that those coming into the Bar have the requisite qualities. In this regard, it is envisaged that there should be a stringent assessment system that would sieve out those who do not possess these fundamental requirements. In other words, it is not a given that all “students-at-law” would make the grade and complete the CBC.

Q: What are subjects that the CBC will cover?
A: We have put together an array of subjects that we feel will meet the objectives that I spoke of earlier. In this regard, some of the main subjects that we have proposed are : Practical Aspects of Malaysian Law, Legal Interpretation Skills (Constitution, Statutes and Case Law) and Practice Management Skills (in Semester 1), Legal Language (English and Bahasa Malaysia for law) and Communication Skills (including IT skills), Lawyering Skills (eg. Techniques of analysis) and Practical Legal Research, Legal Ethics and Professionalism, Business and Solicitors Accounts, Interviewing and Client Counselling Skills, Opinion Writing (in Semester 2) and core subjects such as Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, Drafting Skills, Evidence, Real Property Practice, Commercial and Corporate Practice, Introduction to Advocacy, Negotiation Skills, Alternative Dispute Resolution-Mediation and Arbitration (in Semesters 3 and 4)4. Finally, in Semester 5 we have proposed Remedies and Enforcement/Execution Proceedings as well as a host of other electives5.

Q: How do you expect the CBC to be delivered?
A: The Committee has also considered the mode of delivery and the assessment system. We have discovered that most jurisdictions have moved away from the traditional lecture-seminar/tutorial as the mode/s of delivery of the CBC. Thus, the modern approach (as part of experiential learning) is to have a mixture of lecture-seminar/tutorials, on-line learning, DVD’s, practical and industrial training. This should result in cost savings and it would also impact on the logistical requirements for the CBC.

Q: What about the teaching staff and infrastructure to support the CBC?
A: It is envisaged that the teaching staff will consist of qualified members of the Bar, judges (sitting and retired) and qualified academics from the various law faculties/private colleges. There should also be provision for foreign teaching staff, whether on an ad-hoc or permanent basis. Further, in connection with finances, the Bar Council has decided that the CBC should be run on a non-profit basis. Thus, public funding from the government would be required to set up the necessary infrastructure and to cover administration costs.

Q: When do you expect the CBC come into place?
A: We anticipate it will take between 4 to 6 years for the CBC to be implemented. This is because, inter-alia, there is a requirement for dedicated course materials, which are presently unavailable. We must also develop a training programme for those who are to be engaged to teach the CBC. As for logistics, in the interim we would need to use the available facilities in the law faculties in our public universities in the Klang Valley. However, we must look at a purpose built college (eg. the College of Law, Sydney) to cater for the CBC in the future.

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1 Hendon Mohamed, Prasad Abraham, Sheila De Costa, G.K. Ganesan, Ken St. James, Mariette Peters, Murad Ali, Roger Tan, Dato’ Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Nahendran Navaratnam and S.S. Muker
2 Adjunct Professor R. Rajeswaran of UiTM
3 Dr. Rozlini Mary Fernandez Chung
4 Some of the other proposed electives in Semester 4 are Advanced Evidence, Advanced Civil Procedure, Advanced Criminal Procedure, Advanced Real Property Practice, Advanced Corporate and Commercial Practice, Wills and Probate Practice, Insolvency Practice and Family Law Practice.
5 Some of the proposed electives in Semester 5 are Administrative Law Practice, Advocacy in Criminal Law, Industrial Law Practice, Intellectual Property Law Practice, Human Rights Litigation and Introduction to Islamic Banking and Finance.