Legal History of Singapore

Topics: Common law, Law, Judge Pages: 7 (2350 words) Published: December 6, 2008
The legal system of Singapore


Legal history
Common law and custom law
Specialities in Singapore legal system
Self comments

*Note: I check the official webside, there is only Singapore legal system instead of Singapore's legal system, so in my whole passage I use the word Singapore legal system.

Singapore, a thriving city-state, overcomes the dearth of natural resources to become one of the juggernaut economies of Asia. When we look into its path to a developed country, we can easily recognized the importance its legal system has on it. As the development of any other counties, the legal system of Singapore inevitably underwent tension as the world situation changed so rapidly, however, the swiftly and deftly Singapore responded in creating new laws and institutions or adapting existing ones has achieved an immense effect. Legal history

Early 19th century, under the rule of the Sultan of Johor, with a community of fishermen numbering no more than 200, Singapore formed the basis of a rudimentary legal system, which is the mixture of Malay customary and adat laws (localised traditional laws and customs in Indonesia and Malaysia). Singapore was founded by Sir Thomas Raffles of the British East India Company in 1819 which marked the starting point of its modern legal system. In 1826, an English Act of Parliament was passed to enable the Crown to make provision for the administration of justice in Singapore and Malacca as well as empowered the Directors of the British East India Company to declare Singapore and Malacca to be annexed to Penang and to be part of that settlement. It was at the year 1858, the British East India Company was abolished and the Straits Settlements came under the new India Government, Singapore was made the administrative center and this complexion remains until 1867. By an order in Council made under the Government of the Straits Settlements Act in 1867, the Straits Settlements were transferred to the Colonial Office in London and became a Crown Colony. From 1942 to 1945, Singapore was occupied by the Japanese which meant that Singapore would be administered and justice dispensed, according to the rules and regulations of the Japanese. The British resumed control of Singapore after the Japanese surrendered in 1945. May 1959, marked the culmination of the road to self-government and the beginning of the arduous road to independence via merger with Malaysia. In 1963, together with Sarawak, North Borneo and the existing states of the Federation of Malaya, they formed Malaysia. However, Singapore's membership in Malaysia was so short that social unrest and disputes between Singapore's ruling People's Action Party and Malaysia's Alliance Party resulted in Singapore's expulsion from Malaysia. 9 August 1965 was the day Singapore became an independent republic. Yusof bin Ishak was appointed as the Republic's first President on 22 December 1965, while the first prime minster of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew was elected in 1959, the same year as Singapore achieve its self-government. The Singapore Parliament completed the constitutional and legal procedures and formalities to accord with Singapore's independent status on 22 December 1965, including rectifying the anomaly of the Singapore High Court being part of the Malaysian judiciary. The drive to create an autochthonous legal system gained increased momentum in the late 1980s and accelerated with the appointment of Yong Pung How as Chief Justice in September 1990. This coincided with the period of intensive constitutional remaking to develop an autochthonous government and parliamentary system of Singapore. The landmark Practice Statement on Judicial Precedent, announced in 11 July 1994, declared that the Privy Council, Singapore's predecessor courts, as well as the Court of Appeal's prior decisions no longer...
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