International firm White & Case has closed its office in Jakarta.
The five-consultant office has been relocated because the Indonesian government does not allow foreign lawyers to practise, and no longer approves of the consulting office device used by a number of firms.
George Crozer, a partner at the firm's Hong Kong office, says: “A number of firms adopted the consulting firm approach and local lawyers have objected and said it wasn't in keeping with the Indonesian legal system.”
He says since the Asian economic crisis Western, firms have withdrawn their consulting offices.
The office was established as an Indonesian corporation, in which White & Case was a minority shareholder.
Elizabeth Redfern, Asia Pacific marketing manager, says: “We are not disillusioned with Indonesia, but because of the lack of a regulatory basis there, the consultants have been relocated to Singapore and elsewhere.”