23 November 2017
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A more neutral platform to handle errant lawyers, fee guidelines needed: Voices

03 Nov 2017

I had the opportunity of engaging legal counsel for a personal matter recently. It was an arduous and intimidating process, to say the least.

Despite approaching more than 20 legal firms and eventually engaging five different firms, I was unable to find a lawyer whom I could trust to represent me.

Issues surrounding legal fees and the integrity of lawyers are often left unspoken. In almost all my encounters, the lawyers arbitrarily set their fees and the initial quotation provided to me differed significantly from what the eventual charges were.

Most of the lawyers were also not forthcoming with their advice and assessment of the case facts, and I felt they were simply “baiting” me.

While I understand lawyers in Singapore are governed by the Law Society, I am concerned about whether it is the most appropriate and neutral platform to oversee the conduct of members of their own profession.

The process for recourse against errant lawyers should also be made simpler and more transparent to members of the public.

Finally, I feel there should be some fee guidelines which are published to avoid lawyers overcharging clients.

The efficient and above-board functioning of the legal process is critical to the integrity of the judicial system in Singapore. While we have become a developed and litigious society, we must not allow bureaucracy and commercial considerations to detract from serving the purpose of justice.

Darren Ho Meng Kit

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