The Malaysian legal services market is now officially open to foreign lawyers and law firms, following the announcement by the Malaysian Attorney General that the Legal Profession (Amendment) Act 2012 and additional amendments were brought into effect on 3 June.
In the UK, Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said: “We have been representing our members since the early stage of Malaysia's liberalisation process, by working closely with the Malaysian Bar Council and other legal bodies.
“Opening up a jurisdiction to foreign law firms and foreign lawyers can seem like a leap into the unknown. To help Malaysia work through some of the complex challenges that liberalisation brings, we have previously organised a Joint Forum on Liberalisation with the Malaysian Bar Council. Liberalisation is a two-way process, so we have published a guide to help Malaysian lawyers do business with our members in England and Wales.
“Many fields of law in Malaysia are compatible with the strengths of our members, so this is an exciting time for both UK and Malaysian lawyers.”
According to the Law Society, there are three licences available under the newly liberalised regime:
• Qualified Foreign Law Firm
• International Partnership
• Malaysian Law Firm to Employ Foreign Lawyer
The Malaysian Bar Council has issued guidance notes for law firms and lawyers who are interested in applying for the licences. They are also available on the website of the Law Society's International Division.