Loading presentation...

Present Remotely

Send the link below via email or IM


Present to your audience

Start remote presentation

  • Invited audience members will follow you as you navigate and present
  • People invited to a presentation do not need a Prezi account
  • This link expires 10 minutes after you close the presentation
  • A maximum of 30 users can follow your presentation
  • Learn more about this feature in our knowledge base article

Do you really want to delete this prezi?

Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again.


Singapore Legal System

No description

nadia yeo

on 1 March 2016

Comments (0)

Please log in to add your comment.

Report abuse

Transcript of Singapore Legal System

Common Law
- Stare decisis: doctrine of judicial precedent

- Ratio decidendi: operative reason for a decision

- Influence of English common law on Singapore law

- Especially evident in areas of law like contract law and tort law.

- Less evident in areas of law like criminal law, company law and evidence law.

- Manifestation of Singapore's desire to create its own independent body of law and
legal system

- See the cases of Spandeck Engineering v Defence Science Technology Agency
(2007) and Chwee Kin Keong v Digilandmall.com Pte Ltd (2005)
How is a Common Law system different from a Civil Law system ?
- Amount of weight on prior judicial decisions.

- Degree of adherence to the doctrine of stare decisis.

- Approach to litigation.

- Role of judges when hearing cases.

- Manner in which the laws are developed.
- Equitable maxims are not rules which can provide answers to specific legal problems. Rather, they are pithy statements of broad themes which underlie equitable concepts and principles.

- English principles of Equity were introduced to Singapore through the Second Charter of Justice 1826 (see R v Willans (1858) 3 Ky 16). Section 3 of the Application of English Law Act (Cap 7A, 1994 Revised Ed.) stipulates that the 'common law of England (including principles and rules of equity), so far as it was part of the Law of Singapore immediately before the commencement of this Act, shall continue to be part of the law of Singapore' subject to modification and suitability to the circumstances of Singapore (see A. Phang, The Law of Contract, (Butterworths, 1998), 19 - 22).

- Equity governs certain civil obligations such as obligations relating to confidential information, dishonest assistance, fiduciary relationships etc.
Equitable Maxims
- Some significant maxims of Equity are:
- Equity looks on as done which ought to be done.
- Equity follows the law.
- He who comes to Equity must come with clean hands.
- He who seeks Equity must do Equity.
- Where Equities are equal the law prevails.
- Where equities are equal, the first in time prevails.
- Equity is equality.
- Equity assists the diligent, not the tardy.
- Equity looks to the intent, rather than to the form.
- Equity will not assist a volunteer.
- Equity acts in personam.
- Equity will not suffer a wrong without a remedy.
- Equity will not allow a statute to be made an instrument of fraud.
The Constitution
- Overarching supreme law in Singapore.

- It is mandated that any legislation contrary to the Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

- The provisions of the Constitution may only be amended by the votes of two-thirds of the total number of elected Members of Parliament. (However, as and when Article 5(2A) comes into force, in respect of specific constitutional amendments seeking to amend the discretionary powers of the Elected President and the provisions on fundamental liberties, at least two-thirds of the total number of votes cast by the electorate in a national referendum is also required.).

- The Constitution contains express provisions delineating the powers and functions of the various organs of state, including the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary.
Singapore Legal Systems
Where does Equity fit in?
The Legislature and the Law-making Process
- The Legislature comprises the Singapore Parliament and the Elected President. The main function of the Singapore Parliament is the enactment of laws governing the State.

- The law-making process begins with a Bill, normally drafted by the Government legal officers. During the parliamentary debates on important Bills, the Ministers sometimes make speeches to defend the Bill and answer pointed queries raised by the backbenchers. The Members of Parliament (MPs) may, in some cases, decide to refer the Bill to a Select Committee to deliberate upon and submit a report to the Parliament. If the report is favourable or the proposed amendments to the Bill are approved by Parliament, the Bill is accepted by the Parliament and passed.

The Legislature and the Law-making Process
- The Presidential Council for Minority Rights (PCMR) established under the Singapore Constitution is tasked, except for certain exempted Bills, to scrutinise Bills for any measures which may be disadvantageous to persons of any racial and religious communities without being equally disadvantageous to persons of other such communities, either by directly prejudicing persons of that community or indirectly by giving advantage to persons of another community.

- If the report of the PCMR is favourable or a two-thirds majority in Parliament has been obtained to override any adverse report of the PCMR, the Bill proceeds for the Elected President's assent.

- Upon assent, the Bill is formally enacted as 'law'.
The Executive and the
Decision-making Process
- The Cabinet, under the helm of the Prime Minister, is collectively responsible to the Parliament.

- The Prime Minister is appointed by the Elected President from among the Members of Parliament who, in the Elected President's judgment, is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the Members of Parliament.

- The other Ministers in the Cabinet are appointed from among the Members of Parliament by the Elected President on the advice of the Prime Minister.

- The head of the Executive is the Elected President.

The Judiciary and the
Legal Application Process
- The Court of Appeal: The highest court of the land is the permanent Court of Appeal which hears both civil and criminal appeals emanating from the High Court and the Subordinate Courts. As a significant milestone in Singapore's legal history, appeals to the Privy Council in England were abolished in 1994. The Practice Statement on Judicial Precedent issued by the Supreme Court on 11 July 1994 clarified that the Singapore Court of Appeal is not bound by its own decisions as well as prior decisions of the Privy Council. However, it would continue to treat such prior decisions as normally binding, though it may depart from the prior precedents where it appears right to do so.

- The High Court: The High Court Judges enjoy security of tenure whilst the Judicial Commissioners are appointed on a short-term contract basis. Both, however, enjoy the same judicial powers and immunities. Their judicial powers comprise both original and appellate jurisdiction over both civil and criminal matters. Claims above $250,000 are dealt with by the High Court.

The Judiciary and the
Legal Application Process
- The Constitutional Tribunal: A special Constitutional Tribunal was also established, within the Supreme Court, to hear questions referred to by the Elected President on the effect of constitutional provisions.

The State Courts: The State Courts (consisting of the District Courts, Magistrates' Courts, Juvenile Courts, Coroners Courts as well as the Small Claims Tribunals), led by the Presiding Judge of the State Courts, have also been set up within the Singapore judicial hierarchy to administer justice among the people. With the increased sophistication in business transactions and law, the Commercial Civil and Criminal District Courts have recently been established within the State Courts to deal with the more complex cases. Specialist judges have also been appointed on an ad-hoc basis to hear specific complex cases

The Judiciary and the
Legal Application Process
- The District and Magistrates' Courts: The District Courts and the Magistrates' Courts share the same powers over specific matters such as in contractual or tortious claims for a debt, demand or damage and in actions for the recovery of monies. However, the jurisdictional monetary limits in civil matters for the Magistrates' Courts and District Courts are $60,000 and $250,000 respectively. The courts also differ in terms of criminal jurisdiction and sentencing powers.

- The Small Claims Tribunals: The Small Claims Tribunals, on the other hand, afford a speedier, less costly and more informal process for the disposition of certain specified small claims (ie, claims relating to disputes arising from contract for the sale of goods or the provision of services, tort in respect of property damage and any contract for the lease of residential premises that does not exceed 2 years) with a monetary limit of $10,000 only or $20,000 (where the disputing parties consent in writing).
The Judiciary and the
Legal Application Process
- The Family Court: The Family Court deals with various family-related matters and divorce proceedings, which includes matters such as division of matrimonial property, custody of children, as well as maintenance of the wife and/or children. In addition, it also deals with adoptions. Note the presence of the Syariah Court as well.

- The Coroner's Court: The Coroner's Court holds inquiries to ascertain the cause of a person's death. The inquiries are fact-finding in nature.

- The Juvenile Court: The Juvenile Court deals with offences committed by persons below 16 years of age and Beyond Parental Control cases.

- The Community Court: The Community Court was established to deal with the following categories of cases: youthful offenders (aged 16 to 18), offenders with mental disabilities, neighbourhood disputes, attempted suicide cases, family violence cases, carnal connection offences committed by youthful offenders, abuse and cruelty to animals, cases which impact on race relations issues and selected cases involving offenders aged 65 years and above
- ADR began tentatively in the 1980s when the government envisaged Singapore as a major dispute resolution centre, capitalizing on its geographic position as well as its goal of developing Singapore into a total, one-stop business centre. Another explicit goal is to prevent Singapore from becoming a litigious society.

- Some methods of ADR include mediation, neutral evaluation, arbitration and negotiation.
Alternative dispute resolution
Why is the Constitution the Supreme Law in Singapore?
Supremacy of Constitution
4. This Constitution is the supreme law of the Republic of Singapore and any law enacted by the Legislature after the commencement of this Constitution which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
Amendment of Constitution
5.—(2) A Bill seeking to amend any provision in this Constitution shall not be passed by Parliament unless it has been supported on Second and Third Readings by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the total number of the elected Members of Parliament referred to in Article 39 (1) (a).
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party, i.e. a mediator, facilitates and guides the parties in negotiating a mutually acceptable settlement to their dispute.

The mediator does not determine who is at fault in the dispute.

Instead, he helps the parties to focus on finding solutions that meet their concerns, without forcing a decision on either party.

Mediation is a service provided by the Primary Dispute Resolution Centre (PDRC) of the State Courts and the Singapore Mediation Centre. There are also Community Mediation Centres in Singapore.
Arbitration is a process where parties agree to resolve the dispute by bringing the matter before a neutral third party, i.e. an arbitrator, for decision.

During an arbitration hearing, both parties, with their respective lawyers, will present their case to the arbitrator. The arbitrator will make a binding decision based on the merits of the case, i.e. the parties must obey the arbitrator’s decision.

The Law Society of Singapore provides low-cost arbitration services through the Law Society Arbitration Scheme (LSAS)
Neutral Evaluation
An adjudicatory process by which parties to a dispute may obtain a reasoned opinion on facts, evidence and legal merits of specific issues within their case from an independent third party known as a Neutral. The Neutral is typically an impartial ex-Judge or senior lawyer who will hear your case through written briefs and/or oral presentations, consider the strengths and weaknesses of your case and give you their opinion.

This allows both you and the other party to have a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your case, so as to have a clearer sense of your positions in the dispute. Alternatively, neutral evaluation can also be utilised to resolve entire disputes if parties so wish.
Why Neutral Evaluation?
With the growing concern over legal costs, including arbitration costs, neutral evaluation is an attractive alternative by which parties can obtain a cost-effective and speedy determination.

The whole process is private and confidential. Parties can also choose whether to have a binding opinion or not and opt for a documents-only evaluation or an evaluation with hearing.
Full transcript