Engaging a Queen’s Counsel in Singapore

Last updated on June 10, 2013

Recently, City Harvest Church member Chew Eng Han’s application for representation by a Queen’s Counsel (an elite breed of English barristers) was dismissed by the Singapore High Court judge, V K Rajah JA.

In normal circumstances only advocates and solicitors of Singapore are able to represent litigants before the Singapore courts. The Legal Profession Act (‘LPA’) of Singapore permits ad-hoc admission of foreign senior counsels under exceptional circumstances, in order for them to represent a client before the court. Section 15 of the LPA sets out the conditions where this is permissible:

  1. The foreign lawyer is a Queen’s Counsel or holds any appointment of equivalent distinction of any jurisdiction;
  2. Does not ordinarily reside in Singapore or Malaysia, but intends to come to Singapore to appear in the case; and
  3. Has special qualifications or experience pertaining to the case

Additionally, if the application is made in a case involving constitutional and administrative law, criminal law, or family law, then by way of s 15(2) of the Act, the court will decline unless there is a special reason to do so. This is so because such areas of law are highly peculiar to Singapore, and it is questionable whether a foreign counsel is able to adequately contribute his expertise to the matter.

Finally, by way of s 15(6A), paragraph 3 of the Legal Profession (Ad Hoc Admissions) Notification 2012 also prescribes further matters that the court may consider in deciding whether to admit a foreign senior counsel. They include:

  1. the nature of the factual and legal issues involved in the case;
  2. the necessity for the services of a foreign senior counsel;
  3. the availability of any Senior Counsel or other advocate and solicitor with appropriate experience; and
  4. whether, having regard to the circumstances of the case, it is reasonable to admit a foreign senior counsel for the purpose of the case.
Before Making a Claim
  1. Differences between Criminal Law and Civil Law
  2. Should You Sue? 8 Things to Think About Before Suing
  3. How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter in Singapore
  4. Limitation Periods: What's the Deadline for Suing in Singapore?
  5. What to Do If Someone Sues Your Singapore Business
  6. Arbitration and Mediation: When They Can be Useful for Business Disputes
  7. Can I Sue a Foreigner in Singapore?
  8. Mediation in Singapore
  9. Arbitration: When and How to Arbitrate Business Disputes in Singapore
  10. 6 Things You Need to Know about Third-Party Funding in International Arbitration
  11. Using Neutral Evaluation to Resolve Civil Disputes in Singapore
Making a Claim - The Beginning of a Dispute
  1. Letters of Demand and Their Usages in Singapore
  2. Law on Writ of Summons in Singapore
  3. Received a "Without Prejudice" Letter? Here’s What It Means
  4. What if I Cannot Find the Party I Want to Sue?
  5. Making a Claim in the Small Claims Tribunals in Singapore
  6. First Meeting With Your Business Dispute Lawyer: What to Expect
  7. Negotiating a Settlement in a Business Dispute
  8. Security of Payment Act: Claiming Progress Payments for Construction Work Done
  9. Engaging a Queen’s Counsel in Singapore
The Litigation Process
  1. Civil Litigation in Singapore
  2. Originating Summons: What It Is and How to File in Singapore
  3. Memorandum of Appearance in Singapore: What It is and How to File
  4. Affidavits in Singapore: What Are They & How to Prepare One
  5. Default Judgments and Summary Judgments in Singapore
Matters relating to Witnesses and Evidence
  1. Can My Minor Child be Subpoenaed to be a Court Witness?
  2. Admissibility of Evidence in the Singapore Courts
  3. Subpoenaed to be a Court Witness in Singapore: What You Need to Do
  4. Who is an Expert Witness and How to Use Expert Evidence in Singapore
  5. Destroying and Tampering With Evidence in Singapore
  6. Legal DNA Test: What is It For, How It’s Conducted, Cost & More
Remedies Available for Civil Litigation
  1. Types of Injunctions in Singapore
  2. Specific Performance: Obtaining this Equitable Remedy in Singapore
After the Lawsuit
  1. After the Lawsuit: Who Has to Pay Whom, and How Much?
  2. Enforcement of Court Judgments and Orders in Singapore
  3. How to Get a Writ of Seizure and Sale to Enforce a Judgment