Doing legal business in the Philippines

The Republic of the Philippines is the third largest English-speaking country in the world and one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia.

As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Philippines is part of the world’s sixth biggest regional economy – worth an estimated US $2.55 trillion – and the world’s third biggest regional market.

The so-called ‘tiger cub’ economy has been predicted by HSBC to become the world’s 16th largest by 2050.

The Philippines is a landing point for doing business across Southeast Asia. It occupies a strategic location in Southeast Asia between international shipping lanes.

Its capital city, Manila, can quickly and easily be reached by air from major Asian cities. The country also shares the same time zone with:

  • Hong Kong
  • Macau
  • Singapore,
  • China
  • Taiwan
  • Malaysia
  • Brunei
  • central Indonesia
  • Western Australia

The Philippines has been a signatory to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) since 1979 and a founding member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since 1995.

Practising in the Philippines

The Philippines is a completely closed legal market. You must have citizenship of the Philippines to be admitted to the bar.

As the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) does not recognise foreign-qualified lawyers, foreign lawyers (by nationality or qualification) are unable to practise law in the Philippines.

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