SG shelves planned tiered-legal-fees structure

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Singapore has shelved its plan to tie legal fees to claims after lawyers spoke up against the government’s plan.

Part of a wider revamp to the civil justice system spearheaded by the Civil Justice Commission (CJC) to improve access to justice, the tiered-fees structure was panned by lawyers.

The CJC proposed that maximum professional fees allowed in civil cases should be fixed to S$6,000 for a S$60,000 claim, S$148,000 for a S$10m claim, and S$723,000 for a S$200m claim.

About 1,000 lawyers joined a Law Society of Singapore town-hall meeting earlier this month to voice their concerns to Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam SC, minister of law, and Indranee Rajah, second minister for finance and education.

In another meeting hosted by the Law Society on 22 November, Shanmugam said that the government would not be pursuing the plan for now, according to The Business Times, which cited an unnamed lawyer who was in attendance. Lawyers raised legitimate questions, including about the consequences of the plan to the profession, Shanmugam said.

The government may look into the proposal again in a few years after the litigation process is simplified, the minister said, assuring lawyers that there would be a consultation process if that happens.