Damages-based legal billing: Law Society replies

Currently, both the Legal Profession Act and the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct) Rules prohibit contingency fees under any circumstances ("Consider damages-based legal billing in limited cases" by Mr Heng Cho Choon; Monday).

It is, therefore, not permissible for a lawyer's remuneration to be based on an amount proportionate to the sum recoverable by the client.

Contingency fee arrangements may allow a lawyer to take a direct interest in the outcome of the matter, and may compromise the interest of the client.

The council of the Law Society, however, recognises the developments in overseas jurisdictions on this issue, particularly a growing international acceptance of allowing some forms of contingency fee arrangements, and in Singapore, foreign law firms are permitted to offer contingency fee arrangements.

The Law Society formed a committee in 2014, chaired by then vice-president Thio Shen Yi, to review this rule.

The committee, after conducting extensive consultations, recommended to the Government that an exception be made for "access to justice" cases, as well as international arbitration cases.

Shawn Toh

Director

Communications

The Law Society of Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2016, with the headline 'Damages-based legal billing: Law Society replies'. Print Edition | Subscribe