We refer to the article “Bar Council finds BurgieLaw and Dragon Law in breach of Legal Profession Act; yet to decide on CanLaw“, published by themalaysianlawyer.com which extracted paragraphs from the Legal Profession Committee’s (“LPC”) report in the 2016/2017 Annual Report of the Malaysian Bar.
Burgielaw.com wishes to clarify that, as of today, Bar Council has neither disapproved nor disallowed the application of Burgielaw.com.
The citation in the annual report is a mere extraction of the decision made by the LPC in early 2016 when Burgielaw.com took the initiative to approach Bar Council to understand its policies towards legal tech in Malaysia.
Burgielaw.com being the first legal tech to approach Bar Council, on or around January 2016, prepared slides in ppt. and sent a copy to the Bar Council for their comments.
It was in this regard, LPC took an issue with the 15 minute free consultation construing it as placing at the disposal of any other person the services of an advocate and solicitor.
For convenience purposes, Section 37(3) is extracted below.
(3) Any unauthorized person who offers or agrees to place at the disposal of any other person the services of an advocate and solicitor shall be guilty of an offence under this subsection:
Provided that this subsection shall not apply to any person who offers or agrees to place at the disposal of any other person the services of an advocate and solicitor pursuant to a lawful contract of indemnity or insurance.
4) Every person who is convicted of an offence under subsection (2), (2A) or (3) shall, on conviction, be liable for the first to a fine not exceeding five hundred ringgit or in default of payment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months and for the second or subsequent offence to a fine not exceeding two thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.
Burgielaw.com has then responded by way of email removed the free 15 minute session leaving it to the lawyers to decide the costs chargeable for those meetings.
For all intents and purposes, Burgielaw.com opines that the section was originally drafted to combat touts and not to deal with legal tech or legal directories. Further, Burgielaw.com also is of the view that any acts imposing criminal or other penalties should be construed narrowly in favour of the person proceeded against. (as cited from Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes and Ment & Ors v Public Prosecutor  1 MLJ 201)
Although Burgielaw.com finds the current environment challenging for legal tech to manoeuvre around, it seeks to continue to work closely with Bar Council to avoid any form of contravention.
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