LIST OF AMENDMENTS
Amending law Sections amended Effective date
Ord. 3/1960 2 (definitions of 1-6-1960
“Chief Justice” and
“Registrar”), 3, 4,5,
6, 7, 8, 10, 12(b),
13(2), 14(1), (2),
F.L.N. 435/1965 2 (definitions of 18-11-1965
“Chief Justice” and
(2), 4(1), (d), 8, 9,
10(a), 11, 12, 13(2),
14(1), (2), 15(1),
Act 160 S. 16 28-8-1975
Act A 319 4(1)(cc) 1-1-1975
Act A 359 4(1)(cc), (ii) 22-10-1976
Act A 608 4(1)(cc), (2)(c), 1-1-1985
Act A 691 4(1)(cc), 12(j), (k), 19-2-1988
12(A), 13(3), 17(c),
Act A 734 4(1)(cc), (1A), 1-7-1989
(1B), (2), (c), (3), (except
(4), 5(2), 10(c)(i), sections 5, 6,
12, 13(1), 14(1) 7 which came
Act A 886 2(1) (definition of 24-6-1994
“Chief Justice” (2)(c),
4(1B), (2), 5(1), 6, 10(b),
10(2), 10(2)(c), 17
Act A 1000 4(1)(cc) 17-10-1996
To regulate the admission of persons as advocates and to make provision for matters relating thereto.
[12th May 1953.]
1. Short title.
This Ordinance may be cited as the Advocates Ordinance.
(1) In this Ordinance—
“Chief Judge” means the Chief Judge of the High Court and if, at any time, the
Chief Judge is not resident in Sabah, means the
senior Judge resident in
“to practise in
(a) any of the functions
(b) any of the functions
“Registrar” means the Registrar of the High Court stationed in
“roll” means the roll of advocates kept in accordance with section 3.
(2) A person shall be deemed to have
(a) has been born in
(b) has been ordinarily
(c) satisfies the Chief
Judge that he is, at the time when the question whether he has Sabah connections is relevant, domiciled in
3. Duties of Registrar.
The Registrar shall in accordance with the provisions of this Ordinance be responsible for keeping a roll† of advocates and for the issue or certificates to practise.
4. Qualifications for admission of advocate.
(1) No person shall be admitted as an advocate unless—
(a) he is a member of the
Bar of England,
(b) he is a solicitor or attorney of a Superior Court in a British Possession to which the Colonial Solicitors Act 1900, has been applied by Order in Council and who by virtue of the said Act and of any Order in Council thereunder may be admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland without examination and without service of articles of clerkship;
(c) he is a solicitor of
the Supreme Court in
(cc) he has been conferred the degree of Bachelor of Laws by the University of Malaya, the International lslamic University, Malaysia or the National University of Singapore, or he has been conferred the degree of Bachelor of Laws (Honours) or awarded the Advanced Diploma in Law by the MARA Institute of Technology, Malaysia, or he has been awarded a Certificate in Legal Practice by the Qualifying Board established under the Legal Profession Act 1976; or
(d) he has been admitted to practise as a legal practitioner (by whatever name called) by a Supreme Court or High Court exercising jurisdiction in any place within any territory within the Commonwealth.
(1A) Subject to subsection (lB), no person having any of the qualifications mentioned in subsection (1) shall be admitted as an advocate unless he has been a Magistrate of the First Class in the State of Sabah for a period of not less than twelve months or he has been a pupil, or read in the chambers, of the State Attorney-General, or of an advocate who has been lawfully practising in some part of Malaysia for a period of not less than five years immediately prior to the person becoming his pupil or commencing to read in his chambers, for a period –
(a) of not less than twelve months; or
(b) if he has obtained a
certificate from the
(1B) The Chief Judge may, in his sole discretion, exempt a person from the whole or part of any period of pupillage or reading in chambers, upon application made to him supported by satisfactory evidence that—
(a) there are special circumstances justifying the exemption; or
(b) the applicant has for a period of not less than six months been a pupil, or read in the chambers, of a legal practitioner in active private practice, in any territory within the Commonwealth, of not less than five years’ standing; or
(c) the applicant has satisfactorily completed a post-graduate course of instruction in law organised by any institution that would render him eligible to be admitted to practise as a legal practitioner (by whatever name called) in any territory within the Commonwealth.
(2). A person having any of the qualifications mentioned in subsections (1) and (1A) shall be eligible to be admitted as an advocate if he satisfies the Chief Judge that—
(a) at the date of his app!ication he is not disbarred, struck off (other than on his own application), suspended or in any other manner disentitled to practise as an advocate or legal practitioner, by whatsoever name and style designated, in any territory within the Commonwealth and is not subject to any present or pending disciplinary proceedings in connection with his practise as an advocate or legal practitioner and has not been convicted in and is not subject to any pending or present criminal proceedings involving dishonesty in any territory within the Commonwealth;
(b) he is not an undischarged bankrupt or the subject of any bankruptcy proceedings within the Commonwealth; and
(c) he has
5. Application to be admitted to be advocate.
(1) Any person eligible to be admitted to be an advocate may apply to the Chief Judge to be an advocate may apply to the Chief Judge to be so admitted, and shall annex to such application—
(a) proof of his qualifications and of his eligibility under subsection (2) of section 4; and
(b) two recent testimonials as to his good character.
(2) A copy of the application and of the documents in support thereof shall be delivered to the State Attorney-General who, and the Sabah Law Association which, shall be entitled to be heard on any such application.
6. Admission as advocate.
If the Chief Judge is satisfied that—
(a) an applicant under section 5 is eligible under section 4 to be admitted as an advocate; and
(b) that he is in all respects a fit and proper person to be so admitted,
he shall by order direct that upon payment of the prescribed fee the Registrar shall cause the name of the applicant to be entered on the roll.
(1) Upon the making of an order under section 6 and upon the payment by the applicant of the prescribed fee the Registrar shall cause to be entered on the roll the name of the applicant and the date of his enrolment and the applicant shall thereupon become and be styled an advocate and shall continue to be an advocate so long as his name remains on the roll.
(2) The Registrar shall from time to time and at least once in every year publish in the Gazette the names of all persons on the roll.
8. Right to practise
(1) Subject to subsection (2) and to section 9, advocates shall have the exclusive right to practise in Sabah and to appear and plead in the Federal Court in Sabah and in the High Court and in all courts in Sabah subordinate thereto in which advocates may appear, and as between themselves shall have the same rights and privileges without differentiation:
Provided that the Attorney-General of the Federation and the State
Attorney-General shall be entitled to the same rights and privileges as are
enjoyed by the Attorney-General in the Courts in
Provided further that no advocate, other than the State Attorney-General, who has the rank of Queen's Counsel shall perform any of the functions which, in England, are performed by a solicitor and are not performed by a barrister; but any advocate who has the rank of Queen's Counsel shall not be precluded by virtue of anything contained in this Ordinance from continuing or engaging in partnership with another advocate by reason only that such last mentioned advocate performs any functions as aforesaid.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person who is
an advocate in
(a) when the Federal Court is exercising its original jurisdiction –
(i) if he is representing the Government of the Federation or of any State thereof;
(ii) if he is an
advocate in Sarawak and is representing a person who is normally resident in
(iv) if he is an advocate and solicitor in the States of Malaya and is representing a person who is normally resident in the States of Malaya;
(b) when the Federal Court is exercising its appellate jurisdiction, if the cause of action, the subject matter of the appeal, was tried-
(i) in Sarawak, the advocate appearing is a
(iii) in the States of Malaya, the advocate and solicitor appearing is a States of Malaya advocate and solicitor.
9. Certificate to practise
No advocate shall in any calendar year be entitled to practise in
Provided that upon the admission of any person as an advocate the Registrar shall grant him free of charge a certificate to practise up to and including the thirty-first day of December next following the date of his admission.
Notwithstanding anything in this Ordinance contained—
(b) any person who possesses any of the qualifications mentioned in subsection (1) of section 4 may, in the discretion of the Chief Judge and upon payment of the prescribed fee, be granted a temporary licence to practise notwithstanding that he does not fulfil any of the conditions mentioned in paragraph (c) of subsection (2) of section 4 if the Chief Judge is satisfied that such person intends to reside in Sabah and practise in the place of any advocate whose name is on the roll and has been practising in Sabah for a period of not less than twelve months; a temporary licence shall not be granted for any period in excess of six months nor shall the period of its validity be extended beyond six months;
(c) the Chief Judge may in his absolute discretion upon application by or on behalf of any person who possesses any of the qualifications mentioned in subsection (1) of section 4 grant permission to such person to practise in any one case or matter subject to any conditions he may think fit and to the payment of the prescribed fee if—
(i) such person has been instructed by a local advocate; and
(ii) having regard to all the relevant circumstances he is of opinion that it is in the interest of justice so to do.
Advocates shall take precedence as between themselves according to the date on which their names are inscribed upon the roll of advocates:
Provided that the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Federal Solicitor-General and the State Attorneys-General shall in that order take precedence over all other advocates.
12. Striking off, etc., of advocates and persons
entitled to practise in
Any advocate may have his name struck off the roll of advocates, be suspended from practising in Sabah, be fined not exceeding five thousand ringgit, be censured or be awarded costs to or against him, and any person entitled to appear and plead before the Federal Court by virtue of subsection (2) of section 8 and any person referred to in paragraph (b) of section 10 may be suspended from practising in Sabah or his right to practise in Sabah withdrawn by order of a judge for any of the following causes—
(a) if he takes instructions in any case except from the party on whose behalf he is retained, or some person who is the recognised agent of such party, or some servant, relation, or friend authorised by the party to give such instructions;
(b) if he is guilty of fraudulent or improper conduct in the discharge of his professional duty or knowingly misleads or allows the Court to the misled;
(c) if he tenders, gives, or, out of any fee paid or payable to him for his services, consents to the retention of, any gratification for procuring or having procured the employment in any legal business of himself or any other advocate;
(d) if he directly or indirectly procures, or attempts to procure the employment of himself as advocate, through or by the intervention of any person to whom any remuneration for obtaining such employment has been given by him;
(e) if he has been convicted of a criminal offence implying a defect of character which unfits him for his profession;
(f) if he has ceased to be a person entitled to be admitted to be an advocate as a result of disciplinary proceedings taken against him in the country in which he qualified, or in any country in which he has practised as a legal practitioner by whatever name called;
(g) if he does any act
which if done in
(h) if he has procured his admission as an advocate by any mis-statement, fraud or misrepresentation;
(i) if, being an advocate, he has practised
(j) if he practises in
(k) if he has been guilty of a breach of any rules made under paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of section 17:
Provided that no such order shall be made until the advocate or person has had an opportunity of showing cause against such order.
12A. Striking off and suspension of advocate
if he is struck off or suspended in other places in
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 13, the High Court may, at its discretion, upon an application, supported by satisfactory evidence in writing, made to it by the Inquiry Committee established pursuant to section 17, strike the name of an advocate off the roll of advocates or suspend an advocate from practising in Sabah if it is satisfied on the evidence given that the advocate who is also an advocate and solicitor in West Malaysia or an advocate in Sarawak has been struck off the roll or suspended for improper conduct or practice in his capacity as an advocate and solicitor or an advocate in any of those places and has not been restored to the roll.
(1) Proceedings to strike an advocate off the roll of advocates, suspend, fine, censure or award costs referred to in section 12 shall be commenced by an application to a Judge in Chambers for a rule to issue to the advocate to show cause why he should not be struck off the roll of advocates, suspended, fined, censured or awarded costs, as the case may be.
(2) Proceedings to suspend or withdraw from any person entitled to appear and plead before the Federal Court by virtue of subsection (2) of section 8 and any person referred to in paragraph (b) of section 10 the right to practise in Sabah, shall be commenced by an application to a Judge in Chambers for a rule to issue to the person to show cause why his right to practise in Sabah should not be suspended or withdrawn, as the case may be.
(3) An application under subsection (1) or subsection (2) may be made by the Inquiry Committee established pursuant to section 17 or by any person aggrieved by any action of the advocate or person complained against.
(4) In the event of a rule being granted, further proceedings thereunder shall be in open court.
(1) In the event of any advocate being struck off the roll, suspended, fined, censured or awarded costs, or of any person entitled to appear and plead before the Federal Court by virtue of subsection (2) of section 8 and any person referred to in paragraph (b) of section 10 having his right to practise in Sabah suspended or withdrawn, he shall be at liberty to appeal against the order of striking off, suspension, fine, censure, award of costs or withdrawal to the Federal Court, but pending the hearing of his appeal he shall not be entitled to practise in Sabah except where a period of suspension lapses before the hearing of the appeal, in which event he shall be at liberty to resume his practice after the period of suspension has expired.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed so as to deprive an advocate of any right of appeal which he may have to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
15. Agreements by advocates.
(1) No agreement entered into by any advocate (which term shall in this section include a person entitled to appear and plead before the Federal Court by virtue of subsection (2) of section 8 and any person referred to in paragraphs (b) or (c) of section 10) with any person retaining or employing him respecting the amount and manner of payment for the whole or any part of any past or future services, fees, charges, or disbursements in respect of business done, or to be done, by such advocate shall be valid unless it is made in writing signed by such person.
(2) When a suit is brought to enforce any such agreement, if the agreement is not proved to be fair and reasonable, the Court may reduce the amount payable thereunder or order it to be cancelled, and the costs, fees, charges and disbursements in respect of the business done to be ascertained in the same manner as if no such agreement had been made.
(3) Such an agreement shall exclude any further claim of the advocate beyond the terms of the agreement with respect to any services, fees, charges, or disbursements in relation to the conduct and completion of the business in respect of which the agreement is made, except such services, fees, charges, or disbursements, if any, as are expressly excepted by the agreement.
(4) A provision in any such agreement that the advocate shall not be liable for negligence, or that he shall be relieved from any responsibility to which he would otherwise be subject as such advocate, shall be wholly void.
(1) Any person, not being entitled to practise in
(a) acts as an advocate or agent for suitors, or who as such advocate sues out any writ or process, or commences, carries on, solicits or defends any action, suit or other proceedings in the name of any other person or in his own name in any of the courts of Sabah, or draws or prepares any instrument relating to any proceedings in any of the courts of Sabah; or
(b) wilfully and falsely pretends to be, or takes or uses any name, title, addition or description implying that he is duly qualified to act as, an advocate, or that he is recognised by law as so qualified; or
(c) either directly or indirectly for or in expectation of any fee, gain or reward, draws or prepares any instrument relating to immovable or movable property;
shall be liable to a fine of five hundred ringgit.
(2) Nothing in section 8 or in subsection (1) of this section shall prevent any litigant in person or any person having a right to appear under any rules of court or any other written law for the time being in force from attending, pleading and doing any act with regard to any proceeding in which he is a litigant in person, or in which he has a right to appear.
(3) The provisions of this section shall not apply to—
(a) the Attorney-General of the Federation, any State Attorney-General, State Advocate-General or Legal Adviser of a State, or any person acting under the authority of any of them;
(b) any public officer drawing or preparing instruments in the course of his duty; or
(c) any person employed merely to engross any instrument or proceeding, or
(d) any person who draws or prepares—
(i) a will or other testamentary instrument;
(ii) an agreement under hand only;
(iii) a letter or power of attorney;
(iv) a transfer of stock containing no trust or limitation thereof; or
(e) any person who, on behalf of an illiterate—
(i) writes a petition or letter addressed to or intended to come to the notice of any public officer or Court; or
(ii) completes any document or form prescribed by any Ordinance.
The Chief Judge with the concurrence of the State Attorney-General may make rules generally for carrying out the provisions of this Ordinance and in particular for—
(a) regulating the practice
and etiquette of the profession in
(b) regulating the method by which accounts shall be kept relating to any money received from or on behalf of clients and the audit of such accounts;
(c) fixing or taxing costs to be charged as between solicitor and client;
(cc) regulating disciplinary proceedings against any advocate who fails to comply with any rules made under this section;
(ccc) establishing an Inquiry Committee and to make ru1es for regulating the hearing and investigation of matters before or by an Inquiry Committee; and
(d) prescribing any forms,
fees or any other matter authorised or required by
this Ordinance to be prescribed.
* Throughout this Ordinance “Sabah” has been
substituted for “the Colony” and “North Borneo” by virtue of Article 48(1) of
the Constitution of the State of
† For the provisions relating to the cessation of the former roll and the establishment of the existing roll, and the registration of certain partnerships, see sections 15, 16 and 17 of Ordinance 3 of 1960.
* See G.N.S 116 of 1953, G.N.S 15 of 1988, G.N.S 16 of 1988, G.N.S 17 of 1988.