Guide To Start Legal Services Company in Malaysia
Malaysia Standard Industrial Classification (code 74110) classified all Malaysia legal services into seven (7) major categories as follows:
1. advice and representation in civil, criminal and other cases, i.e. representation of one party’s interest against another party, whether or not before courts or other judicial
bodies. These legal services can be performed under the supervision of, persons who are members of the Malaysian Bar.
2. patents and copyrights
3. preparation of deeds, wills, trusts, etc.
4. notary public
6. legal examiners
7. referees activities
The Malaysia Standard Industrial Classification (code 74110) excludes the court activities.
Guide To Start Legal Services Company in Malaysia – license application
All legal services performed in Malaysia are regulated by Bar Council of Malaysia. A legal firm is to register with Bar council of Malaysia is required to maintain 100% Malaysian equity ownership. Since 2014, foreign law firms and foreign lawyers now be permitted to practice legal services in Malaysia in the manner set out in the legislation with 2 new categories of licenses as follows:
1. Malaysian law firm can partnership with foreign law firm under “international partnership with approval of legal license for 3 years renewable and can employ foreign lawyer for the same period
2. Approved Qualified Foreign law Firm (QFLF) license. Todate, only 5 QFLF licences was granted in Malaysia to international law firms that have proven expertise in international Islamic finance, and it is aim to support and contribute to the Malaysia Islamic Finance Center initiatives.
Once the legal services license is approved, it is a pre-requisite for the legal firm is to register and possess the Annual Certificate from the Bar Council of Malaysia.
The local entities eligible to register to start your legal services in Malaysia is either by setting up a Malaysia Sdn Bhd company or Branch office under the Company Commission of Malaysia (CCM). Other business licenses such as business premise and signboard license from local town council authorities are still applicable.
Registration of Foreign Individual Lawyers
All individual foreign lawyers working in an International Partnership, QFLF or Malaysian law firm will have to register as a foreign lawyer with Bar Council of Malaysia. They will have to reside in Malaysia for not less than 182 days in any calendar year. Practicing Certificate for foreign lawyers will be issued annually and it is renewal with Bar Council of Malaysia.
Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII)
Once the legal firm is approved by Bar Council of Malaysia, the new firm shall obtain the mandatory Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) to provide indemnity against such classes of professional liability stipulated under the Master Policy and Certificate of Insurance (COI) undertaken by Bar Council of Malaysia. The PII mandatory limit is based on the number of lawyers in the firm with a maximum of up to 36 lawyers. The minimum limit is RM250,000 for the first lawyer and the maximum Mandatory Limit is RM2,000,000.
Possession of PII cover is a pre-requisite to the issuance of the Annual Certificate.
Easy start your Legal Services Business under Labuan Offshore Company with 100% ownership!
Under General Agreement on Trade in Services, (GATS), there is no limitation under cross border activities and transactions abroad for legal services with 100% foreign ownership. Such investment can be made only through a corporation (Labuan company, LLP, LP) incorporated in Labuan and obtain the legal services license approved by Labuan Financial Authorities Services. The legal services rendered shall only supply to corporations established in Labuan. The corporate tax for Labuan entities enjoy low corporate tax rate of 3% or pay flat fee of RM20,000.
Legal firms in Labuan with paid up capital of RM250,000 may employ expatriates for 2 years’ renewable work permit approval with minimum salary of RM10,000
from the Expatriate Committee of the Labuan Immigration Department. The spouse and children of the expatriate can apply for 2 years’ dependent passes once the expatriate successfully obtained the work permit pass.
Feel free to contact us to assist you to quick set up your legal services company in Malaysia. We simply “simplify the complexities” of your investment in Malaysia!