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Accreditation scheme to be expanded to raise professional standards in legal industry

[SINGAPORE] A voluntary accreditation scheme will be extended to lawyers in the maritime and shipping industry, said Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon at the opening of the legal year on Monday.

Called the Specialist Accreditation Scheme, it was introduced last year as a mark of recognition and was offered to building and construction lawyers in a pilot. Since then, 24 lawyers have gained accreditation.

In a speech at the Supreme Court Building, Chief Justice Menon said the scheme is meant to raise professional standards by recognising professional excellence.

Addressing judges, lawyers and various stakeholders, he also highlighted the challenges that the legal sector has to overcome to remain relevant and competitive domestically, regionally and internationally.

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He listed initiatives to raise professional standards, including enhancing the education of law graduates and the professional training and continual legal education framework.

The Chief Justice also cited the Legal Industry Framework for Training and Education, which helps lawyers plan their professional development through platforms like mobile web-based applications and is integrated with the national SkillsFuture initiative.

Against the growing internationalisation of legal practice and transnational legal dispute cases, Singapore is in a good position to make meaningful contributions to the regional legal sector in the coming year, he added. "But the success of these efforts ultimately depends on each practitioner's commitment to equip himself or herself for the changing complexion of legal practice."

THE STRAITS TIMES