Senate President Franklin Drilon has said the proposed liberalisation of law practice in the Philippines will help strengthen the country’s legal profession and will help the country face the numerous challenges in the political and business sectors.
However, Drilion also said the proposed measure “must ensure that foreign lawyers will live up to the standards and principles of lawyering in the Philippines, a practice that requires loyalty to the rule of law, and fidelity to the cause of the client.”
He hopes the country’s legal sector and policy makers will realise early the importance of adapting and liberalising the country’s legal profession – allowing foreign lawyers to practice within the country.
“While the practice of law in the ASEAN region may be a challenge, the liberalisation of the legal profession will ultimately benefit the region as a whole. The long-term effect of a legal profession that recognises no territorial boundaries goes into the success of the ASEAN integration itself,” said Drilon.
“Currently in the Philippines, the practice of law is restricted only to Filipino lawyers. This proposal for liberalisation allows for collaborative work between Filipino and foreign lawyers where the matter or transaction involves both domestic and foreign law,” he said. Drilion went on to say that it is time to establish a procedure in which foreign lawyers and firms may be able to assist their clients in cross border transactions where the Philippines is involved.
“At current growth rates, it is predicted that the ASEAN would become the fourth-largest market, after the EU, US and China, by 2030. However, full ASEAN integration poses a challenge to every ASEAN member country. The existing legal framework may not be sufficient for the region to achieve a completely free exchange of goods and services,” Drilon said.
Drilion ended by saying a strong and more efficient legal system will help the country capitalise on all the economic opportunities provided by the ASEAN integration in the coming years.