Looks like this event is over!
The registration is closed.
About the Programme
In 2016 and 2017, law firms in Panama City (Mossack Fonseca) and the BVI in the Caribbean (Applebys) were subjected to the unauthorised disclosure of a massive amount of client data. The data was reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and published across the world media. The conduct of some of the clients suggested that bribery and corruption, tax fraud, sanctions-busting transactions and money laundering and terrorism financing may have occurred. The conduct involved leading corporations, high net worth individuals, leading politicians and/or relatives of such persons. In the media, there was intense criticism of lawyers, accountants and other intermediaries who facilitate such conduct, leaving aside whether the conduct or the underlying structures were or were not legal. There were increasing calls for greater regulation and reporting obligations to be imposed on intermediaries, including lawyers. The law firms each suffered considerable reputational damage.
What does all this mean for Singapore lawyers, the principles of confidentiality and legal professional privilege and ultimately, the rule of law?
Singapore is a critical financial and commercial hub in South East Asia and throughout the broader Asia Pacific region. It is home to many international businesses (household brands) and its legal profession draws upon a long-standing common law heritage of independence and belief in the rule of law, adapted over many years. However, no country is immune from corporate misconduct or illegal commercial and financial crime and financial centres such as Singapore need to be alert to an ever-changing landscape facing the legal profession.
In May 2019, the International Bar Association (IBA) and the Secretariat of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) published a landmark document, its Report of the Task Force on the Role of Lawyers and International Commercial Structures (the IBA/OECD Report). The IBA/OECD Report examined the role of lawyers across the world and over a 2.5 year research program, surveyed over 180 Bar Associations and Law Societies and worked with OECD member organisations to arrive at a set of ”best practice” Principles to assist national Bar Associations and Law Societies to promote ethical conduct within the profession.
We are delighted to have leading the discussion as its guest, Mr Robert Wyld, Consultant at Johnson Winter & Slattery in Sydney, Australia, a former Co-Chair of the IBA Anti-Corruption Committee, a frequent visitor to Singapore over many years and the principal drafter of the IBA/OECD Report. He will discuss the creation of the Task Force, the impetus from national governments for change, the work of the Task Force and the challenges it faced and the Principles set out in the IBA/OECD Report. Following which, Mr Wyld will be joined by Mr S Suressh in a panel discussion who will be sharing the Singaporean perspective on the role of lawyers, their obligations and how the Principles might apply in practice. This seminar is of key importance to all Singapore lawyers who engage in cross-border international work and the issues that should be considered when a client is or may be proposing conduct (or a transaction) that gives rise to potential illegality.