New working group to review current family laws

A new working group will be set up to review the current family laws, to ensure they remain updated and suit current needs. Key ministries, the Attorney-General's Chambers, academics as well as lawyers will work with the courts on an ongoing basis to
A new working group will be set up to review the current family laws, to ensure they remain updated and suit current needs. Key ministries, the Attorney-General's Chambers, academics as well as lawyers will work with the courts on an ongoing basis to identify areas that may require reform, revision or just refinement, says Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - A new working group will be set up to review the current family laws, to ensure they remain updated and suit current needs.

The group will include members from key ministries, the Attorney-General's Chambers, academics as well as lawyers who will work with the courts on an ongoing basis to identify areas that may require reform, revision or just refinement, said Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.

The move is one of several initiatives announced by CJ Menon Tuesday morning at the Family Justice Workplan seminar, which comes in the wake of a hive of activity since the roll-out of the Family Justice Courts last year.

"In family justice, legislation sets the context for all that we do and case law must always be seen in this light. It is therefore imperative that we work closely with policy makers to ensure that legislation is periodically reviewed so that we can be sure it is well suited to enable us to serve families and administer justice in practical and just ways," he added.

His work plan address provided a broad sweep of the work of the Family Justice courts which deals with the full spectrum of family issues and the need to ensure access to justice to those who need it.

He said family lawyers play a crucial role in ensuring access to justice and noted the "enthusiastic response" by the Family Bar to changes in the past few months.

"Family lawyers have lent their services as Child Representatives, been trained as family mediators and worked hand-in-hand with the judges to reduce acrimony in difficult cases," he said.

To boost their skills in their new roles in the changed family law paradigm, CJ Menon has appointed a Family Law Accreditation Committee chaired by Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang.

The group will consider and recommend measures for the multi-disciplinary training of lawyers in cooperation with the Law Society and the design of specialist family law.

He made clear the group's recommendations may or may not involve accreditation for family lawyers.

"The premise of our success is our people," said CJ Menon.