The world’s most innovative trade agreement, the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA), has heralded a new era of collaboration in the digital economy, with particular focus on the legal tech sector. As two of the most advanced digital trading nations globally, the UK and Singapore have crafted a unique, far-reaching accord that promotes shared best practices and fosters responsible development and usage of emerging technologies.

A noteworthy aspect of the DEA is the focus on lawtech cooperation. This move aims to cultivate trusted, safe, and responsible lawtech development and use. It entails establishing dialogue on lawtech matters, encouraging knowledge sharing amongst regulators, relevant bodies, and academics, and fostering opportunities for lawtech suppliers in both countries.

On the topic of digital identities, the DEA aims to facilitate greater compatibility and interoperability between the UK’s and Singapore’s systems. This will be achieved through technical interoperability work, development of comparable digital identity protections, support for international frameworks, and exploration of mutual recognition of digital identity frameworks.

In order to stay attuned to industry developments and stakeholder needs, the UK and Singapore plan to establish a Digital Economy Dialogue. This platform will allow for the exchange of ideas and insights between researchers, academia, and industry professionals, ultimately informing the DEA’s ongoing implementation and modernisation.

A prime example of the exciting possibilities emerging from this DEA is Verify 365’s expansion into Singapore. Verify 365, a UK-based risk and compliance technology company with a footprint in Australia and Canada, is leveraging the DEA to foster electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC), Know Your Business (eKYB) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance through its innovative platform.

By launching in Singapore, Verify 365 underscores its excitement and readiness to navigate the digital economy landscape facilitated by the DEA. As a trailblazer in the risk and compliance technology sector, Verify 365 will bring its expert approach to eKYC and AML to the Singapore market, boosting regulatory compliance and streamlining processes for businesses.

The UK-Singapore DEA is more than a trade agreement. It signifies a shared vision of a digital future that is innovative, secure, and inclusive. As companies like Verify 365 expand and evolve within this landscape, the promise of an interconnected digital economy, enhanced by artificial intelligence and digital identities, becomes an exciting reality. The implications of this collaboration are far-reaching, fostering innovation and setting a precedent for digital trade agreements globally.

Roundtable and Networking reception at Eden Hall

The iconic Eden Hall, residence of UK High Commissioner Kara Owen, was abuzz with anticipation as a prominent UK trade delegation congregated for a reception on June 22, 2023. The event, attended by a multitude of law firms and lawyers, was an opportunity for networking, sharing insights, and discussing the impact of the revolutionary UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA).


High Commissioner Kara Owen, Mike Freer MP of the UK Ministry of Justice, and several other significant figures from both nations were present, highlighting the DEA’s significance and discussing how this cooperation could help keep law firms ahead in the fields of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance.

Kara Owen noted the DEA’s innovative approach and the excitement surrounding lawtech in the trade deal. She emphasised that this agreement is a testament to the forward-thinking nature of the UK’s sector.

Adding to this promising narrative is the story of Verify 365, a UK-based risk and compliance technology company. The firm is set to expand into the Asia-Pacific region, leveraging the provisions of the DEA. Azeem Rashid, Director of Verify 365, expressed his excitement about the firm’s foray into the Singapore market, “We’re thrilled to be at the forefront of the UK-Singapore digital economy collaboration. Verify 365 is committed to providing innovative eKYC and AML solutions to the region’s legal tech sector, and we’re excited to contribute to this visionary cross-border initiative.”

Meanwhile, Mike Freer MP praised Singapore’s advanced court digitalisation and pointed to the future role of tech, particularly AI, in legal services. He acknowledged Singapore’s powerful presence in the legal service domain, especially its status as a leading arbitration centre. Freer called for continued collaboration, stating, “Legal services will be driven by tech, and the UK government is keen to push tech. By collaborating, we can use tech for our mutual benefit and tap into a massive market.”

Rahayu Mahzan, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Law in Singapore, reinforced the mutual interest between UK and Singapore companies in enhancing the sector. Mahzan also highlighted the opportunities in legal tech, including generative AI, and the transformative effect of tech on law practices. She expressed hope that Singapore, despite its small size, could leverage its strengths to influence the region.

Key to the collaboration’s success, as laid out during the event, will be business matching, effective policy and regulation, and keeping innovation at the forefront. A notable recent development was the announcement of six major banks’ collaborative efforts in the fintech world.

Lim Joo Hong, Director of the Legal Technology Transformation Office from Singapore’s Ministry of Law, presented an overview of legal services in Singapore. He outlined their sector-wide plan to promote innovation and technology adoption up to 2030, including a legal technology platform initiative and a legal industry digital plan (IDP), set to launch in 2023.

Mr. Toh Hong Lim, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Justice’s Legal Transformation Team in Singapore, also contributed key insights into the state of Singapore’s legal market. His focus on the readiness of Singapore’s legal market for digital transformation highlights the sector’s potential for advancement and the fruitful opportunities for UK Lawtech-Singapore collaborations.

Toh suggested that Singapore’s legal sector is well-primed for digital transformation. This readiness, he noted, comes from a confluence of factors such as strong institutional support, a robust legal framework, and a rich ecosystem of lawtech suppliers and innovative startups.

Further, he underlined the opportunity for even deeper collaborations between the UK and Singapore, particularly in the lawtech space. Singapore’s advanced digital infrastructure, combined with its position as a hub for legal services in the Asia-Pacific region, presents significant possibilities for UK lawtech firms to expand their reach and impact.

“The combination of legal expertise and tech innovation in both nations can forge a potent partnership,” Toh said. “We foresee immense mutual benefits as we leverage our respective strengths and learn from each other in our journey towards digital transformation.”

These remarks, combined with the key insights and discussions from the Eden Hall event, underscore the potential of the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) to transform the legal tech landscape. The future of the sector looks promising as nations collaborate, embrace innovation, and work towards a common goal of digital evolution and growth.

As innovative solutions like those from Verify 365 come to the fore, the impact of this unique agreement on the legal tech sector is becoming increasingly tangible.