Working as in-house counsel in Singapore : FAQ


I wish to work in-house in Singapore.  What regulatory requirements must I comply with?  Must I be admitted to the Bar in Singapore?  As in-house counsel, do I need to hold a practising certificate?

The in-house profession in Singapore is not regulated.  It is not necessary to be admitted to the Bar (whether in Singapore or elsewhere) or to hold a practising certificate before you can be employed as in-house counsel. The position is the same for both local and foreign lawyers practising in-house in Singapore.

Can I advise on Singapore law if I am qualified in a foreign jurisdiction?

There is no restriction as to which laws an in-house counsel in Singapore can advise on. However, you should be familiar with the relevant regulations and processes before you provide your advice. 

Are there any restrictions as to what I can do as in-house counsel?

In-house counsel cannot

  • appear or plead in any Singapore court unless otherwise permitted by law;
  • appear in any hearing before a quasi-judicial or regulatory body, authority or tribunal in Singapore unless otherwise permitted by law; or
  • attest any document which is required to be attested by an advocate and solicitor (i.e. someone who has been admitted to the Bar in Singapore and who holds a practising certificate).

Are in-house counsel in Singapore subject to any professional conduct rules?

As the in-house profession is not regulated, there is no code of conduct that binds all in-house counsel as such.  In-house counsel who are admitted to the Bar (whether in Singapore or elsewhere) are subject to the disciplinary regimes that are applicable to them by virtue of their having being admitted to the Bar in their respective jurisdictions.

The Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (SCCA) has a Code of Ethics which is binding on its members.