Question about honesty of lawyers

I have a question about honesty of lawyers here , i have witnessed a lawyer in bali trying to extort money from a business deal and i have heard of others dishonestly telling bules they can buy property here , how can you guarantee that a lawyer or notaris is honest ???

no disrespect intended

dear tel,

you got your point there,
but first let me ask you, is there any person in this world that is never done wrong ? even judges , president ?
but little bit explanation about our notary professions will help a little understanding of what we are in Indonesia.
for notary we have our period of conduct until we are 65 years old.
Since the " dutch era " " notary professions " considers as the " trustable professions" 
as we carry huge responsibility from our community as well as to the government.
we are appointed by the minister of law and human rights, and taking oath before the governor.
our notary records and administration records are checked regularly by the notary organization board.
every deed, every documents are checked ! and if something"s wrong there are some penalties .
But again I can go on and on but nobody's perfect.
Mostly whats important is that the individual is fearing God, thats the most basic.

for foreigner the only way to set up company is through PMA , that is foreign investment company. 
whether you need an Indonesia partner or not it is depend on your scope of business.
we all first have to check the negative list .

i appreciate your information on the responsibilities of the notaris , but again how can you guarantee the notaris and or the lawyer is honest ?? in europe for example ,the lawyer or solicitor goes quick to prison if they are corrupt or giving illegal advice to the detriment of their client . Here , I very much doubt it ! as the courts have also been found to be corrupt on certain occasions ,  how is it possible for foreigners to have confidence in your legal system , even locals have the same problem, as im sure you are aware .

Tel, one way you can assure yourself of finding a good and honest attorney is to ask around for recommendations.  Here in Bali you might feel more comfortable with this firm,

or, you might like these folks:

Both firms have been around for a very long time, and if you Google them you'll find good reviews...happy clients.

As Joyce makes clear, there are no absolute guarantees in life, and if Indonesia is going to be your home, you'll need to get used to that. 

As for me personally, I'd take most any lawyer here in Bali over the sharks I was used to back in the US.   ;)

hmmm , yap ask around , thanks for your advice , but the longer im here the less i trust the system , anyway have a nice evening

"...but the longer im here the less i trust the system."

Perhaps there is a message there?   :/

I have lived in developing countries on and off for 35 years , while of course there are positives, the tedious thing is always the corruption in the legal systems , unfortunately indonesia  has similar problems  to many others , if people just accept without protesting , it will never change

I guess I'm just lucky, because in the 17 years I've been living here I've found no reason to complain about the legal services I've used, or the legal system here.  On the other hand I have known a few expats who would say otherwise, but for them, they were trying to beat the system.

you are clearly fortunate , sadly many expats thought they were buying villas freehold on strata title or nominee schemes  only to find it was all illegal , hence the rush to sell , most of the esteemed legal firms here were in involved in this debacle , unfortunately  many expats sell at drastically  reduced prices  before they lose their property .

Expats who tried to beat the system, like "buying" a property using a nominee or failing to register a villa used for rental income and pay the appropriate taxes, are folks for which I have no sympathy.  I don't see this as a matter of luck, rather I see it more as exercising due diligence and playing by the rules.  Same goes for expats working here without the proper visa and work permits.  As you likely already know, here on Bali we have a euphemistic word to describe facing the's called karma.   ;)

these expats were advised by local lawyers that strata title , nominee , and all the other BS was legal , hence a substantial number of properties are up for sale in bali as we speak , I pity the unfortunates who believed in the lawyers   and signed worthless paper ,

I agree there are some dodgy expats here who try to break the laws re property visas etc and of course should be penalized

It wouldn't surprise me if there have been some cases of expats being taken advantage of by a dodgy Indonesian lawyer or notaris now and then, but I highly doubt that the incidences of that are significant or anything close to frequent.  I do recall one case some six or seven years ago which was rather noteworthy as the perp was a western woman operating as a real estate broker.  If I'm not mistaken, she's still locked up in Kerobokan prison. 

Anyone looking around on the internet can find a number of blogs which have been written over the years (many by one particular nut job) painting a picture of Bali and Indonesia as nothing short of a quagmire of corruption, deceit, rip off artists, etc., etc.  Those blogs can make for some interesting reading but they are nothing short of garbage.   

Sorry, but I simply don't buy into your suggestion that there are a "substantial number of properties" currently up for sale/lease because of some sort of conspiracy or corruption by a number of lawyers on Bali.  Many foretold a burst in the real estate bubble over a year ago, simply because prices were accelerating at an arbitrary and unsustainable pace.

clearly our views do not concur , Ubud has still quite strong tourist occupation levels, and property, but in badung its another story many hotels are up for sale with low occupancy and falling room rates , I know of many cases of people taking 40% loss on investment just to get out of the housing market here ,
I have witnessed an attempt of extortion by a member of the  esteemed profession  for 1m to complete a business deal , which of course failed and heard of others with the same experience .

I'm sure there are bent people in the legal profession, and I know there are a good number of fools for the corrupt to exploit.
Indonesia, as all other countries, has a percentage of corrupt, greedy individuals.
Welcome to the human race.

Badung Regency has been out of control for the last 20 years…each year with an ever increasing frenzy of development.  It should be no surprise to anyone that the bubble has burst in that regency, as it was already over-built and on steroids as recently as 10 years ago, the last 5 years seeing double or triple the amount of development in the prior 5 years. 

Blaming all of that on corrupt Indonesian lawyers as opposed to the reality of sober economics is perhaps soothing for those who are now sobering up, but it is not accurate.  Corrupt lawyers may well be a small part of the story, but the vast majority of folks who got caught up in the over-hype of the real estate market down there simply failed to do their homework.

thankfully i was not one of the unfortunate people , i always limit my risk in developing countries , I find "living in indonesia  forum" which covers the whole of the archipelago very informative, as they have hundreds of members and many posts  on the vagaries of life here ,plus and minus ,

have a nice day

Yes, there are a number of forums regarding Indonesia and I have either participated in the past, or still do on:  The Bali Travel Forum, The Bali Expat Forum (Balipod), Home in Bali Forum, Thorn Tree, Inter-Nations, Trip Advisor, Virtual Tourist, and of course right here.  If you dig deep enough on all of them, you can generally count on hearing exactly what it is you want to hear.   ;)

You have a nice day too!

Call Peter Johnson in Bali.  Peter is an ex Australian lawyer, he cannot practice here but he has an office of Indonesian Lawyers that he controls.  He's been in Bali for more thn 25 years and he knows Indonesia law inside out.  You play with the rest at your risk. Adrian

I agree Adrian, which is why I added a link to his web site earlier on this thread:


I wonder if the above mentioned company assisted expats to buy property and land under the nominee scheme ? which of course is illegal

I don't know how long you've been on Bali, but at one time, using the nominee scheme was considered OK so long as the relationship/trust level between the foreigner and the Indonesian nominee was solid.  So, yes, I imagine at one time Peter would have assisted his clients in such a scheme.  So, if you are inferring something about Peter's operation, you might re-think that. 

My first property deal here, before I even met my wife, was done on a nominee basis, and after we got married the Hak Milik was signed over to big deal. 

But, let's get something straight regarding nominee schemes.  It isn't so much that the nominee method is “illegal” as there is no law specifically prohibiting this approach, rather, it is the current interpretation of already existing land laws which is the issue.  Specifically this has to do with the irrevocable power of attorney to the foreigner which is now interpreted as granting “powers” to the foreigner regarding land that are reserved solely for Indonesian citizens.  And, there is also the tax issue, which in some minds is the driving motivator behind current interpretation and the “letter of the law” as they apply to land ownership.

In reality, it's a combination of both factors…one being the keen interest in preserving ancestral lands for citizens, the other being the keen interest by the government in increasing tax revenues.

The bottom line regarding the “nominee scheme” is that the foreign has virtually NO protection in a court of law should the Indonesian nominee decide to be less than trustworthy, and this is fact, regardless of the existence of a POA or not.  There are no cases where a foreigner has won in court in this sort of dispute.

im 8 years in bali , as i said b4 nominee strata title etc etc etc

My only concern was the inference you were making about Peter Johnson. 

Like I said, at one time, (before your time) nominee schemes were fairly common.

the law is the law ,  and as i said I wonder if etc etc  ,

The law my friend, as any attorney will tell you, is subject to interpretation, and regulation.

Case in point, Law No. 44 of 2008 on Pornography.  It specifically prohibits women from showing their navels or wearing bikinis.  Have you noted anyone arrested in Bali for violating that law?