Brunei Darussalam International Trade in Legal Services

Brunei Darussalam International Trade in Legal Services

HOME COUNTRY LICENSING QUESTIONS

Is there legislation governing the legal sector

Legal Profession Act (CAP.132 of Laws of Brunei).  

Under what title do lawyers practise?

Advocate and Solicitor

How does an individual lawyer obtain a "licence" to practise law? How often must this be renewed?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section 4 of the Act provides that the Chief Justice may admit as an advocate and solicitor any qualified person who has attained the age of 21 years, is of good character and has served satisfactorily in such manner and period of pupillage as may be prescribed for qualified persons.By virtue of section 3(1) of the Act, a person shall be qualified if he:
(a) as a barrister-at-law of England or Northern Ireland or a member of the Faculty of Advocates of Scotland;
(b) is a solicitor in England or Northern Ireland or a writer to the Signet, law agent or solicitor in Scotland;
(c) has been active as an advocate and solicitor in Singapore or any part of Malaysia; or
(d) is a barrister/solicitor of a Supreme Court of any Australian State or Territory. 
In addition to that, section 3(3) further entails that a person who is not either a Brunei Darussalam citizen or a permanent resident shall apply for admission only if he or she had been in active practice in any part of the UK, Singapore, Malaysia or Australia or another Commonwealth country or territory designated by the Attorney-General or notice in the Gazette for at least seven years immediately preceding such application.
These requirements are the same as the rules applicable to a local applicant except that section 3(3) of the Act is only applicable to foreign lawyers.
An application by a qualified person for admission as is made by letter addressed to the Chief Justice at the office of the Chief Registrar. The Chief Registrar issues the licence and maintains the advocate and solicitor's name on the roll

Does this entitle the holder to practise throughout the country? If the law license only permits one to practice on a sub-national level, please explain the jurisdictional limits

Practising certificates cover the entire territory of Brunei Darrussalam

Are there certain activities that are "reserved" to those who are licensed to practise law in the jurisdiction?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practising certificates grant sole rights to appear before and plead in all courts. Unauthorised practice is defined to be when an individual (a) acts as an advocate and solicitor or an agent for any party to proceedings or who, as such advocate and solicitor or agent or  in  any other capacity (other than as a  party to an action in which he is
himself a party), issues out any writ, summons or process, or commences, carries on, solicits or  defends any action, suit or other proceeding in the name of any other person or in his own name in any of the Courts in Brunei Darussalam or draws or prepares any instrument relating to any proceeding in the Courts in Brunei Darussalam; or
(b) wilfully or falsely pretends to be, or takes or uses any name, title, addition or description implying that he is duly qualified or authorised to act as an advocate and solicitor, or that he is recognised by law as so qualified or authorised. (a) draws or prepares any document or instrument relating to
any immovable or movable property or to any legal proceeding; or
(b) takes instructions for or draws or prepares any document or
instrument on which to found or oppose a grant of probate or letters of
administration; or(c) draws or prepares any document or instrument relating to
the incorporation or formation of a limited company; or
(d) on behalf of a claimant or person alleging himself to have a
claim to a legal right  writes, publishes or sends a letter or notice
threatening legal proceedings other than a letter or notice that the
matter will be handed to an  advocate and solicitor for legal
proceedings; or
(e) solicits the right to negotiate, or negotiates in any way for
the settlement of, or settles, any claim arising out of personal injury or
death founded upon a legal right or otherwise, They are subject under the Act to a residency requirement, lawyers must have been resident for nine months of the previous year in order to obtain a certificate.

Do you need to hold local nationality to be eligible to practise law?

 

 

 

 

Under the provisions of the Act, the Chief Justice can decide that  the number of advocates practising in Brunei Darussalam is sufficiently adequate to serve the needs of the
community he shall by notice in the Government Gazette so declare. that (a) no person other than a national of Brunei Darussalam shall be entitled to be admitted as an advocate or to obtain a provisional licence under section 8;
(b) the Sultan may direct that the name of any advocate on the roll who is not ordinarily resident in Brunei six months after the publication of such a declaration shall be struck from the roll.

What legal forms can lawyers work in? (e.g. self employment, partnership, limited liability partnership, multi-disciplinary partnership, incorporation)

Practising certificates are only granted where an advocate or solicitor (a) is practising or intends to practise in Brunei
Darussalam either on his own account or in partnership; or
(b) is or is about to  be employed in his or their practice in Brunei Darussalam by an advocate and solicitor or a firm of advocates or solicitors in practice in Brunei Darussalam; and
(c) is or is about to be ordinarily resident in Brunei Darussalam

What other ethical or regulatory requirements must a licensed lawyer comply with? 

 

 

 

 

The Law empowers the Law Society of Brunei to make rules in relation to the regulation of practice and disciplinary rules. There are specific rules in relation to advertising.  These rules are found  in Rule 43 of the Advocates and Solicitors (Practice and Etiquette) Rules which prohibit certain advertising and soliciting practices.  These rules are the same as for local lawyers;
• there are specific rules in relation to use of names.  These rules are found in the Business Names Act (CAP.92).  Section 21 of the Act lists names and words that are prohibited to be used by any firm, individual or corporation required to registered under that Act.  Foreign lawyers and firms are treated the same as local lawyers in the application of these rules.

Do law firms need to receive a "license" (or permission/approval) to practice law?

Law firms do not need to obtain a separate licence to practice

Which authority issues licences? Are there different authorities for individuals and firms? 

 

 

The Attorney General
The Law Building Bandar Seri Begawan
BA 1910, Brunei Darussalam
Telephone: (673) 223 1200 or (673) 224 4872.
http://www.agc.gov.bn/

   

INDIVIDUAL FOREIGN LAWYERS

Are there any explicit rules or restrictions other than visas on fly in fly out practice of law? Ie. Do you need to obtain a licence for temporary practice?

Temporary practice is not permitted, foreign lawyers must obtain a full licence to practice in Brunei

 

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a visa to visit clients or to market but not to practice?

Visitors may obtain visas for professional/visit visas for 14, 30 or 90 days depending on country of origin and citizenship.

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a licence to establish and practise as a foreign legal consultant and what is the scope of this limited licence?

There is no limited licence scheme for foreign lawyers

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled once a foreign lawyer has been granted a limited licence (e.g. residency requirement)

Not applicable

 

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled for a foreign lawyer to qualify for a limited licence? (e.g. prior practice)

Not applicable

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?

The Arbitration Association Brunei Darussalam (AABD) is the sole arbitral body in Brunei and the default for arbitration where no election has been made by the parties. The AABD maintains a panel of international lawyers.

Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ad hoc admission is possible according to the Act for (a) a person who holds Her Britannic Majesty’s Patent as Queen’s Counsel; and who —
(i) does not ordinarily reside in Brunei Darussalam but has come, or intends to  come, to Brunei Darussalam for the purpose of appearing in the case on instructions
of an advocate and solicitor; and
(ii) possesses special skill and qualifications for the purpose of the case whether or not such special skill and qualifications are available in Brunei Darussalam;
(b) a person who is entitled to practise before the High Court in Malaysia, Singapore or Hong Kong or in such other Commonwealthcountry as the Chief Justice may specify; and who —
(i) does not ordinarily reside in Brunei Darussalam buthas come, or intends to  come, to Brunei Darussalam for the purpose of appearing in the case on instructions
of an advocate and solicitor; and
(ii) has not been admitted under this section in respect of more than 2 other cases in the current calender year;
and
(iii) possesses special skill and qualifications for the purpose of the case which are not otherwise available in Brunei Darussalam

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

 

 

 

 

By virtue of section 3(1) of the Act, a person shall be qualified if he:
(a) as a barrister-at-law of England or Northern Ireland or a member of the Faculty of Advocates of Scotland;
(b) is a solicitor in England or Northern Ireland or a writer to the Signet, law agent or solicitor in Scotland;
(c) has been active as an advocate and solicitor in Singapore or any part of Malaysia; or
(d) is a barrister/solicitor of a Supreme Court of any Australian State or Territory. 
In addition to that, section 3(3) further entails that a person who is not either a Brunei Darussalam citizen or a permanent resident shall apply for admission only if he or she had been in active practice in any part of the UK, Singapore, Malaysia or Australia or another Commonwealth country or territory designated by the Attorney-General or notice in the Gazette for at least seven years immediately preceding such application. 

FOREIGN LAW FIRMS

Can a foreign law firm obtain a licence to open an office?

Foreign law firms cannot open offices in Brunei to provide legal services

Even if a foreign law firm does not require a legal licence must they register in some form in order to set up an office? (e.g. with a ministry of company affairs etc)

Not applicable
 
 
Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)

Not applicable

Is there a quota on the number of licences available? Not applicable
Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have? Not applicable
Are there "scope of practice" rules that apply directly to foreign law firms (as opposed to lawyers themselves)? (e.g. home, host, international law), if so, what are they? Not applicable
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? Not applicable
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? Not applicable
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL Not applicable
   

EMPLOYMENT AND PARTNERSHIP

Are there restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm?

Not applicable

May a domestic lawyer be employed by a foreign lawyer or law firm?

Foreign law firms may not establish in Brunei but there is no prohibition on Brunei lawyers being employed by foreign firms

Can a domestic lawyer enter into partnership with a foreign lawyer?

Commercial association is not permitted

Can a domestic lawyer or domestic law firm employ a foreign lawyer?

Yes

   

OTHER USEFUL LINKS/SOURCES

Other useful sources or comments or links

bruneilawsociety.wordpress.com/