Singapore Laws On The Internet

Introduction

Having Singapore laws on the Internet really took off in 1998 with the launch of Legal Workbench, a subscription service aimed at the legal professionals. This is Singapore’s first comprehensive source of primary legal resources available on the Internet. Law reports, legislation, parliamentary reports and unreported judgments can be found in Legal Workbench.

Since then Singapore legal resources on the Internet has grown in geometric proportions with many freely accessible resources.

The Singapore Legal System

As a former British Crown Colony, the Singapore Legal System is based on the English common law system. The term “Common Law” is usually taken to mean the unwritten law and legal customs which have been recognised and given the force of law. Common law is “unwritten” in the sense that the law was not embodied in a code or statute but is found in the recorded judgments of those judges who interpreted the law. These judgments have been recorded in various law reports and text-books.

It should also be mentioned that although Singapore Law has predominantly an English common law flavour (as modified by statutes), there is some degree of pluralism in that Muslim Law governs the Muslim community in religion, matrimonial and related matters and is administered by a separate system of courts known as the Syariah Courts.

The supreme law in Singapore is its Constitution. The Constitution provides for written laws or statutes to be enacted by Parliament. In Singapore, the Parliament is a unicameral legislature, ie “one chamber”. A piece of legislation starts as a Bill. When a Bill is passed, it becomes an Act of Parliament. However, the Act only comes into force with the President’s assent and is published in the Gazette with a specified date when the Act comes into force.

It is common practice in Singapore for Acts of Parliament to confer powers on a Minister or other persons or bodies to make rules or regulations for specified purposes. Such rules and regulations are known as subsidiary legislation.

Judicial power in Singapore is vested in the Supreme Court and in the Subordinate Courts. The Supreme Court consists of the High Court and the Courts of Appeal. The Subordinate Courts consist of District Courts and Magistrates’ Courts. Both the Supreme Court and the Subordinate Courts handle civil and criminal cases. The Subordinate Courts, being a lower court, deals with the ‘smaller’ cases.

A List Of Singapore Legal Resources on the Internet:

Singapore Sources

International Sources

Lay Person Sources