We ran a P&P costs survey which ended on 18 March and received feedback from 70 law practices as well as 174 individuals in their personal capacities from 95 law practices. The survey data was analysed, aggregated and submitted to Ministry of Law on 30 March 2019 in the second stage of the consultation process for the Civil Justice Reforms.
Our representations emphasised the Bar’s views that P&P costs should be revised upwards as: (i) it is in the public interest for a winning party not to be disproportionately out-of-pocket in litigation; and (ii) P&P costs need to be commercially realistic for disputes practitioners, accounting for market conditions, inflationary pressures and costs of living. A correction is therefore required to redress and address the disproportionate gap between P&P costs and S&C costs.
In addition, an overwhelming majority of survey respondents rejected the introduction of scale costs for P&P costs. One of the main thrusts of our representations is that a rigid, dogmatic application of a default ad valorem fixed costs scale would only serve to exacerbate the widening recoverability gap in Singapore and deny access to justice to prospective litigants. It would also undermine the fundamental touchstone that costs are a matter of discretion for the courts. Our representations also mooted the establishment of a Costs Commission.
The complete representation to the Ministry of Law can be found in our Members’ Library: click “For Lawyers” > “Members Library” > [Log in with your ID and Password] > “Society Matters” > “Public Consultation”.
PIPD Committee Best Practices Note
The Best Practices Note issued by the PIPD (personal injury and property damage) Committee 2019 has been disseminated to members via eBlast on 9 April 2019. The Note provides practice pointers which practitioners should consider when acting for foreign workers in their PIPD claims and highlights the applicable professional duties under the Professional Conduct Rules and the Legal Profession Act. In addition to the Note, the Committee is planning a workshop to elaborate upon and supplement the key points highlighted in the Note. Invitations to this proposed workshop will be sent to members who have indicated that they handle “Workers’ Compensation Claims” in their practising certificate applications. If you feel that the workshop will be beneficial to your practice, please write in to [email protected] to register your interest.
To assist members to make informed choices about their career options in the face of a rapidly changing workplace environment, especially for junior members, we launched a career counselling scheme in partnership with a former lawyer who is currently pursuing her professional qualification in counselling. Requests for career counselling can be made via the Members’ Assistance & Care Helpline at 6530 0213.
Tech-celerate for Law
Building on the success of the Tech Start for Law support scheme which ended on 28 February 2018 and in response to the results of our 2018 legaltech survey where 88 per cent of decision-makers in Singapore law firms who responded to our survey expressed their belief that technology helps to improve the delivery of services, Tech-celerate for Law will be launched on 2 May to prepare Singapore Law Practices (SLPs) for future disruptions and move them beyond the adoption of baseline technology solutions. We will administer this support scheme in partnership with Ministry of Law, Enterprise Singapore, and Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA). The pre-scope solutions supported under this scheme will empower SLPs to enhance their delivery of legal services, strengthen their capabilities and increase their competitiveness in the global landscape.
To find out how your firm can benefit from the Tech-celerate for Law scheme, do join us for a one-day event on 15 May at InterContinental Hotel. The talks and panel discussions during the event will explore issues relating to legal technology strategies, discuss implications of AI and the digital era on the future legal workforce and showcase the tech adoption journey of three SLPs as well as the innovation experience of other sectors. Participants can also find out more about the application process and the solutions supported under the scheme. You can register here.
The SmartLaw Guild, which brings together and gives recognition to a community of forward-looking lawyers who are constantly re-inventing themselves and acquiring new skills to further elevate their legal practice, will also be launched at the event. SmartLaw certified law firms as well as successful applicants of our past and present support schemes will be part of the SmartLaw Guild. If your firm is interested to be part of our SmartLaw Guild, please contact [email protected] for more information.