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Parliament: New remedial measures proposed for lawyers disciplined for minor lapses

[SINGAPORE] Lawyers who commit relatively minor breaches of professional conduct may now be sent for specified training or counselling, adding to the available measures that can be used to discipline errant members of the profession.

The new measures are focused on the rehabilitation of lawyers and aimed at getting to the root cause of their lapses.

These proposed remedies, tabled in Parliament on Friday under the Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill, will give the Law Society council greater flexibility in dealing with less serious disciplinary cases.

Currently, the Law Society council can sanction errant lawyers by imposing a financial penalty or issuing a warning or a reprimand.

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More serious cases are referred to the Court of Three Judges, which has the power to suspend or disbar lawyers.

The Bill will introduce more options for the council, such as requiring lawyers to attend specified training or counselling by senior members of the Bar.

These remedial measures can be imposed in lieu of, or in addition, to existing sanctions, depending on the facts of each case. For instance, a lawyer can be fined as well as ordered to go for training.

The Ministry of Law said this will allow for "more nuanced and proportionate" disciplinary measures for relatively minor infractions.

It will also allow for a more rehabilitative, tailored and effective means of discipline that take into account the root issues underlying the misconduct, said the ministry.

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