Thu, Apr 22, 2010 - Page 2 News List

FTC fines bar association NT$500,000

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) yesterday fined the Taiwan Bar Association NT$500,000 (US$15,900) for forbidding its members to provide legal counseling services via Web sites set up by private companies.

A decision reached during the bar association’s meeting on March 28 last year instructed local bar association offices to inform all members who agreed to provide legal counseling services on a Web site set up by Lifelaw Inc to cease doing so, commission vice chairperson Shih Hui-fen (施惠芬) said.

An investigation into the bar association was opened when Lifelaw reported the incident to the commission to complain of unfair trade practices by the association.

After it concluded its probe into the matter, the commission yesterday said that the association’s attempt to limit the personal actions of its members had interfered with free market forces because lawyers should be free to provide legal counsel via Web or telephone services set up and run by themselves or private firms such as Lifelaw.

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