Malaysia opens up to foreign law firms
Malaysia is set to bring in new laws this year which would see it opening its doors to foreign law firms. The legislation will allow international firms to set up partnerships with local law firms and to recruit foreign lawyers as well as set up stand-alone offices.
The move follows on from Singapore and South Korea’s steps to liberalise the legal marketplace and could see up to five firms obtain licences this year as Qualified Foreign Law Firms (QFLF) if the Legal Professional (Amendment) Act 2012 comes into force this year as expected.
Islamic finance ability
The Malaysian Bar Counsel said that international law firms would have to have international Islamic finance ability to qualify for the QFLF licence which would run for three years initially.
Commenting on the proposed liberalisation, one lawyer said that the banking sector needed to open up to guarantee a flow of international legal work as the market was primarily focused on domestic work.