The following sets out the rules, procedures, practice directions and specimen notifications to clients in the event of cessation of a legal practice in Singapore.
Cessation of a legal practice may be due to various reasons for example, retirement, closure of a sole practice or partnership, or withdrawal of a partner from a partnership.
1. Notification to the Registrar, Supreme Court
Pursuant to section 27(3) Legal Profession Act, every lawyer shall notify the Registrar, Supreme Court and Council of the Law Society within one (1) week of any change of particulars referred to in section 27(1) or with respect to the status of his practising certificate, including cessation of practice.
A Notice of Change of Particulars can only be submitted through the eLitigation account of the individual lawyer. For details please refer to the Supreme Court’s website.
2. Accountant’s Report
Pursuant to the Legal Profession (Accountant’s Report) Rules, a final accountant’s report must be submitted at the time of ceasing your practice.
Please refer to the Schedule of the Accountant’s Report Rules for a format of the requisite report.
The accounting period ends on the date you ceased to hold or receive any client’s money or conveyancing money.
3. Preservation of Books of Accounts
Pursuant to Rule 11(6) of the Legal Profession Rules (Solicitors’ Accounts), you are required to preserve your books of accounts, ledgers, records and bank statements in respect of client accounts for at least six (6) years from the date of cessation of your legal practice.
4. Preservation of Files
Members are referred to the Council of the Law Society’s Practice Direction on Storage and Destruction of Documents which can be found here.
5. Outstanding Professional Fees and Undertakings
Notwithstanding cessation of your legal practice, your liability (including those of your co-partners’ or former partners’) for outstanding professional fees and for professional undertakings continues.
6. Refund of Professional Indemnity Insurance Premium Paid
Only members who have ceased legal practice may apply to request for refund of Professional Indemnity Insurance premium (‘premium’) already paid.
Members who have ceased practice and who wish to apply for a refund of the premium paid for the Professional Indemnity insurance will have to comply with the following requirements with effect from 1 May 2008:
i) Confirm in writing, by letter addressed to Lockton Companies (Singapore) Pte Ltd that:
you have duly notified the Registrar, Supreme Court and The Law Society of your cessation from practice; and
that you are therefore requesting a refund of the premium paid for your Professional Indemnity insurance.
ii) This letter must be copied to The Law Society.
All written requests for refunds of premium must be made to Lockton Companies (Singapore) Pte Ltd not later than six (6) months from the expiry of the Law Society’s Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy. The Professional Indemnity Scheme Insurers will not accept requests for refunds made after the six (6) month period.