Proposed Requirements for Fly-In-Fly-Out Foreign Lawyers in Malaysia

In January 2019, the Bar Council of Malaysia submitted to the Attorney General the proposed reforms to the Legal Profession Act (LPA). One area that will be amended will be the provisions involving foreign lawyers and foreign law firms entering Malaysia to advise clients. I have written about Malaysia’s liberalisation of legal services previously.

The UK Law Gazette highlighted some concerns of further restrictions on foreign lawyers being able to enter Malaysia to advise on non-Malaysian law aspects. I clarify this area of proposed reform under Malaysian law. Continue reading

Malaysia’s Liberalisation of Legal Services: One Year On

Part A.  Introduction

The liberalisation of the legal market in Peninsular Malaysia to allow for the entry of foreign lawyers has been the subject of discussion stretching as far back as 1999.

Various amendments to the law came into force on 3 June 2014 and this allowed foreign law firms and foreign lawyers to practice in Peninsular Malaysia. One year on, I analyse what changes there have been and what the future possibly holds.

Malaysia’s legal market was liberalised since June 2014

Part B.  Three Entry Routes and Permitted Practice Areas

Underpinning the push for this liberalisation of the legal services was Bank Negara’s desire to allow foreign lawyers and foreign expertise to enter and to develop Malaysia into an international Islamic financial centre.

There are three entry routes for foreign lawyers:

(1) Qualified Foreign Law Firm (QFLF) – the stand-alone model where the foreign firm must demonstrate relevant legal expertise and experience in the permitted practice areas;

(2) International Partnership (IP) – the joint venture model with at least 60% equity by a Malaysian firm and not more than 40% by the foreign firm; and

(3) Registration as a Foreign Lawyer.

Continue reading