Public Consultation on Civil Justice Reforms
The costs proposals made in the Civil Justice Commission (the CJC) Report, namely (1) the introduction of scale costs; and (2) equalising party-and-party costs with solicitor-and-client costs (the Costs Proposals) in Chapter 16 of the CJC Report has raised much consternation among our members since the Report was released on 26 October. The Law Society Council reached out to the Ministry of Law and Minister K Shanmugam SC and Minister Indranee Rajah SC kindly agreed to meet with members of the Bar in a specially convened Townhall on 12 November at Shine Auditorium. The special Townhall was attended by more than 900 lawyers – almost one in five practitioners. Our members shared their perspectives openly and the Ministers engaged the members positively. This was followed by a second townhall with Minister K Shanmugam SC on 22 November. At our request, Ministry of Law also agreed to extend the time for submission of the Law Society’s views until end January 2019.
The Law Society organised two of our own townhalls on 8 November at the State Courts Bar Room which were attended by nearly 400 members. Our Young Lawyers’ Committee will be organising a separate one for younger members of the Bar. We also have a concurrent process for canvassing views on the various proposals of the Reports, including but not limited to the Costs Proposals. All views may be sent to [email protected] by close of business on 30 November 2018 for our consolidation. Please observe the following guidelines:
- State your name and the practice/firm you represent (if applicable) as well as contact details (e-mail address and/or telephone number) to enable us to follow up and seek clarifications on your views, if necessary;
- Focus your comments on whether the changes are necessary and if so, how the recommendations can be improved; and
- State clearly which specific recommendation you are giving feedback on by referring to the relevant paragraph in the public consultation paper or the relevant reports.
Call for Volunteers
With the myriad of changes affecting the legal profession, the Law Society continues to play a critical role in representing members’ interests and concerns in legal and practice matters, and all activities undertaken by the Society are set to grow considerably, in both scope and depth. Without the active participation and contributions from members like yourself, the work of the Law Society would not have been possible; your involvement is crucial in order for the Law Society to remain a strong and effective voice for the Legal Profession. If you would like to volunteer as a member of our committees, volunteer counsel for our pro bono initiatives, or as a defence counsel/counsellor under our support/mentor schemes for 2019, please complete this online form to indicate your interest in up to three committees and/or initiatives by Monday, 3 December 2018.
Group Personal Accident Insurance for Members
The Law Society recognises the importance of enhancing value to our members including by keeping your welfare paramount in our considerations. We have partnered with Jardine Lloyd Thompson to obtain the best rates for a Group Personal Accident coverage for all members, underwritten by Chubb Insurance Singapore Limited. The premiums for such coverage will be fully borne by the Society.
The Law Society of Singapore will be the Master Policy Holder. All members of the Law Society of Singapore will be automatically covered for an assured sum of $50,000. The Group Personal Accident policy came into effect on 1 November 2018. It is a global, 24 hours’ insurance policy that protects against not only situations of Accidental Death and Total Permanent Disability but also Accidental Causes. The following illustrative types of expenses and costs will also be covered:
- Simple and Other Fractures
- Ambulance Costs
- Mobility and Home Renovation Expenses
- Hospital Recuperation Costs
- Funeral Expenses
- Dependent Child Education Supplement
- Accidental Death due to Natural catastrophe
Please call 6530 0213 or e-mail [email protected] for any other queries or clarifications regarding the policy.
We commissioned Blackbox Research, an independent research consultancy to assess the current level of technology adoption in Singapore law firms and solicit feedback to chart the future of legal technology and its relevance to Singapore law firms. The study, which took place between May and August 2018, comprised two parts: 1) an online survey including 495 decision makers, end users (e.g. lawyers, legal secretaries, paralegals, etc.) and technology personnel working in law firms; and 2) focus group discussions with non-adopters of legal tech and high-adopters of legal tech. Here are some of the salient points of the survey results. We will release a fuller report in the coming months.
- Decision makers in Singapore law firms recognise the value of legal tech – 88% agree that tech helps to improve the delivery of legal services and 82% agree that tech adoption is crucial for their firms to stay competitive.
- Singapore law firms which have adopted new technology say such tech has helped them to increase productivity, save time and reduce administrative workload.
- Online legal research and practice management systems are rated to be the most relevant among Singapore law firms.
- Top three types of tech that Singapore law firms wish to adopt are document assembly software, practice management and online legal research systems.
- Legal tech is gaining traction – two in five say their law firms increased their investment in legal tech in 2017 as compared to 2016.
- Adoption of legal tech looks set to rise – three in four decision makers believe that they need to increase the level of tech adoption. More than two in five decision makers say they will invest more in legal tech in 2019-2020.
- However, data security remains an area of concern. Cybersecurity measures currently adopted by Singapore law firms include anti-virus software, firewall, anti-malware software and anti-phishing tools. Nearly all Singapore law firms surveyed have implemented anti-virus software but cybersecurity insurance has yet to gain traction.