06 August 2019

China ready for Singapore lawyers

Singapore Ministry of Law launches training scheme to ready lawyers for working with China and meet the island state's business needs.

The China Ready programme springs from Singapore stepping up its legal and judicial cooperation with China, with a growing level of cooperation between Chinese and Singapore lawyers Edwin Tong, senior minister of state for law, explained.

Legal cooperation

Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong and China president Xi Jinping have identified legal and judicial cooperation as a new area of cooperation between the two countries. The programme is expected to launch early 2020 with two sessions lasting four months each of the programme run annually, with about 25 lawyers in each class. Participants will have to pay a fee, though details of costs have yet to be released. The program will cover the Chinese legal system, foreign investment law, contract law and specialist areas including mergers and acquisitions and dispute resolution. The programme will be developed and delivered by Han Culture and Education Group, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), and will help lawyers appreciate the Chinese culture and business environment. Anthony Tan, SPH's deputy chief executive officer, said the new programme leverages the expansive global network and resources of SPH's Chinese Media Group to develop practical training content for lawyers, “In particular, it taps Lianhe Zaobao's insightful perspectives on developments in China to ensure that the content is relevant to the business needs of Singapore lawyers.”

Belt and Road

Mr Tong said, “We think this is an important programme because it's not just looking at the nuts and bolts of it; we're not just looking at hard laws or legal system.” The programme will help lawyers understand the business culture and environment, he said, and “build a stronger bond, not just at a legal level, but also at the human level. And I think that stands Singapore lawyers in a much better stead.” The Ministry of Law is also creating networking opportunities for Singaporean lawyers to meet their Chinese counterparts, and graduates of the programme will have opportunities for Chinese firm secondment. The Ministry of Law has set up an advisory committee to advise on the curriculum and implementation of the China Ready programme, chaired by Mr Tong, with members comprising 16 distinguished legal professionals from Singapore and China. The inaugural meeting is being held today, 6 August 2019 during Singapore Convention Week. The programme will be conducted in English, except for the language course. In 2018, Singapore was the largest foreign investment destination for China along the Belt and Road, capturing close to 23% of total investment flow from China to Belt and Road countries.

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