Update On Reforming The Group Law Practice Rules
Circular No: 258/2021
Date: 26 November 2021

Dear Members of the Kuala Lumpur Bar,
On 19 September 2019, the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee’s Practice Reform Committee (“PRC”) which was then chaired by New Sin Yew had published a Consultation Paper concerning the Legal Profession (Group Law Practice) Rules 2018 (“GLP Rules”).In brief, the idea behind the Group Legal Practice (GLP) is to allow small firms to assemble and practice as a group by sharing premises and facilities while remaining as separate entities. This would enable small firms to save costs and at the same time increase their competitiveness by branding themselves as group practice.However, the Consultation Paper highlighted certain problems with the GLP Rules which restricts:

a) the number of member firms in a GLP to 5;
b) the number of advocates and solicitors in a member firm of a GLP to a maximum of 5;
c) firms with branches from joining a GLP; and
d) GLPs from having branch offices.

These restrictions have the effect of:

i. preventing GLPs from expanding/stifling the growth of member firms of a GLP;
ii. discouraging advocates and solicitors from embracing a GLP structure;
iii. irrationally restricting freedom of association; and
iv. unjustifiably/arbitrarily placing a restraint on business.

In the Consultation Paper, the KLBC made provisional recommendations to abolish the above mentioned restrictions. The recommendations would allow small firms and group legal practices to be more competitive. This would in turn benefit the public as they would have greater access to and/or choice in legal service providers.
Members’ views and/or feedback were canvassed over 3 months from October 2019 to January 2020.

After consideration of members’ views and/or feedback, a Final Report on the GLP Rules was prepared by PRC’s Surendra Ananth on 25 February 2021.

The Final Report which adopts the provisional recommendations is accessible here and was presented to the Bar Council on 30 June 2021.

Currently, the decision by the Bar Council on whether to adopt the Final Report and to lobby the Attorney-General to abolish the restrictions is pending.

Vivekananda Sukumaran
Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee

Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee




Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee
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