State Courts Towers construction in full swing

The new State Courts Towers, currently being built, will cost $450 million and are expected to be operational from 2020. Viewing a model of the new State Courts Towers are (from far left) District Judge Wong Peck (partially hidden), Presiding Judge o
The new State Courts Towers, currently being built, will cost $450 million and are expected to be operational from 2020.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
The new State Courts Towers, currently being built, will cost $450 million and are expected to be operational from 2020. Viewing a model of the new State Courts Towers are (from far left) District Judge Wong Peck (partially hidden), Presiding Judge o
Viewing a model of the new State Courts Towers are (from far left) District Judge Wong Peck (partially hidden), Presiding Judge of the State Courts See Kee Oon, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Deputy Presiding Judge of the State Courts Jennifer Marie.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The first beam of the superstructure of the new State Courts Towers was hoisted into place yesterday morning.

In his address during the launch, Presiding Judge of the State Courts See Kee Oon said that the existing State Courts building in Havelock Square near Chinatown has served well for the past 42 years, but it is unlikely to be able to support long-term demands.

He added: "To ensure that we have the necessary facilities and infrastructure to address our projected needs, expansion plans were made and the blueprint towards the construction of the new State Courts Towers was mapped out around 2011."

The State Courts said that the new towers, which are being built beside the current State Courts building, will allow the courts to meet future needs and support the push for an efficient, effective and responsive judiciary.

A spokesman said: "The State Courts handle 90 per cent of Singapore's caseload, which equates to more than 300,000 cases per year, and we expect the number of cases to increase as the Singapore population grows.

"With the increase in the State Courts' jurisdiction and caseload over the years, and the introduction of new functions to better serve our court users, the current building is well beyond its original capacity."

Being built at a cost of $450 million, the State Courts Towers will be 178m tall and have three basement levels. There will also be two structures, a court tower and an office tower.

It will also have more than 60 courtrooms and over 50 hearing chambers, compared with the current 37 courtrooms and 40 hearing chambers in the existing building.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held in May 2014, and it is expected to be operational from 2020.

The current State Courts building will then be retrofitted and the Family Justice Courts - also in Havelock Square now - will operate there from 2023.

Shaffiq Alkhatib

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline 'State Courts Towers construction in full swing'. Print Edition | Subscribe