Building of new State Courts complex begins

Construction work on the new State Courts complex will commence in June, following the groundbreaking ceremony that was held on Wednesday. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Construction work on the new State Courts complex will commence in June, following the groundbreaking ceremony that was held on Wednesday. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Construction work on the new State Courts complex will commence in June, following the groundbreaking ceremony that was held on Wednesday.

The new complex, consisting of two interconnected towers, will rise behind the existing octagonal-shaped courts building at the corner of Upper Cross Street and Havelock Road.

It will expand the physical infrastructure of the State Courts without interrupting itsday-to-day functioning, unlike an overhaul of the current building, said judicial commissioner See Kee Oon, who is the presiding judge of the State Courts.

He also noted that the State Courts was handling a growing caseload, which means the need for more court rooms.

The number of court rooms available for both civil and criminal cases will increase from 40 now to more than 60 when the new complex opens in 2019, while the number of hearing chambers will nearly double from 28 now to more than 50. In sum, the new complex will be three times larger than the current courts.

Of the open frame design of the new complex, which will have no external enclosed facade, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who officiated the ceremony, said: "This design intent aims to translate the vision of the State Courts, which is to inspire public trust and confidence through an effective and accessible justice system, into a physical representation.

"Standing as a modern contrast to the 'octagon', the new tower complex... is a powerful metaphor for the openness, transparency and impartiality of the judicial process."

How the current courthouse will be used from 2019 is currently under discussion, said a State Courts spokesman. It had been previously slated to house the civil, family and juvenile courts. The current courthouse, which has been in use for nearly 40 years, has already been marked for conservation.

yanliang@sph.com.sg