The ST Guide To... online legal resources

The idea of consulting a lawyer may be daunting to some who worry about the cost of legal fees and the density of legal jargon.

If you find yourself in need of legal advice and guidance, sometimes the first stop for research can be the web where there is a wealth of free resources to help guide you through the legal jungle.

Online resources for legal advice can be divided into public sector and private sector sites. Here is a guide to some of the sites which can be useful if you have legal questions.

Do note however, that the sources listed here are intended as a starting point guide only. They are not a replacement for consulting a lawyer should the need, based on the nature of the case, arise.

The Community Justice Centre (CJC) 


The State Courts building at No. 1 Havelock Square. PHOTO: ST FILE

If it is your first time dealing with a lawsuit or a court case, the CJC is a good stop. This independent charity offers a wide range of aid, from referrals to legal services agencies to legal information.

The CJC is based in the State Courts and aims to ensure litigants in person have access to justice through community partnership.

Its website states: "As an integrated one-stop hub, CJC aims to provide a wide range of support services for the litigants in Person (LIPs) and their family members. It will provide free practical and emotional support to LIPs in need as well as free legal advice at the legal clinics. Through the support of the CJC, the LIPs should be able to better present their case, follow proceedings and understand judicial rulings or pronouncements in their respective cases."

The website lists programmes and support services available to help people who need legal aid for cases ranging from civil claims of less than $60, 000, to divorce, to criminal cases.

A State Courts spokesman added that those who wish to find out more about the State Courts' processes and procedures for resolving their disputes may refer to the State Courts website.

There are application forms for various matters, answers to frequently asked questions, as well as resources such as brochures and glossary of legal terms from English to other languages.

You can also download the Justice @ State Courts mobile app from Google Play and App Store to access the relevant information using mobile devices, and visit the State Courts' YouTube channel for informational videos about the key processes and its Facebook page for updates on their programmes.

For more assistance, the public can visit the HELP Services of the CJC at Level 1 of the State Courts Building.

The Supreme Court

If you do not know where to start, this is a quick and to-the-point primer on where to go for legal help and the various fees for legal services.

The Law Society 

The Law Society has a downloadable booklet titled Know The Law. This includes information on most of the common legal issues.

The booklet helps people deal with common legal issues such as civil matters, family Issues and criminal proceedings among other things. Before making an appointment to see a lawyer, it may be useful to refer to this booklet which is written in layman's terms for easy understanding.

The Society has also posted a Pamphlet Of Rights to provide basic information in a condensed and 'simple to understand' form to the public. The pamphlet covers the relevant rights a person has when being questioned by the police and the process they should expect during investigations.

The Society's website also helpfully adds that if the information in the brochure is insufficient, Singaporeans and Permanent Residents can call the Society to make an appointment for free basic legal advice at its Community Legal Clinics.

The clinics are run from Mondays to Thursdays (excluding public holidays and eve of public holidays).  

At the legal clinic, you can talk to a lawyer on a one-to-one basis for 20 minutes.  But the Society reserves the right to turn down requests for appointments by applicants who fail to meet the criteria for this free legal advice.

Legalclinics.sg

This website provides a listing of all free legal clinics in Singapore, including the Community Legal Clinics.

Legal Help

Legal Help is an online collation of questions and answers relating to legal issues. If you need legal help, you can submit questions to members of the legal fraternity here. Members of the public also share their legal experiences here and you can read them for guidance.

The website is supported by a network of local lawyers who have volunteered to contribute their time and effort to help those in need.

Singapore Legal Advice 

This website connects individuals and small businesses according to their legal needs. It also has a Facebook page.

Users can read about common legal issues from its comprehensive database of articles. Where needed, It also helps users to contact relevant lawyers and get quotations for their legal matters.

SingaporeLegalAdvice.com started out as a blog in 2012 by then NUS law undergraduate Chan Yuk Lun and now gets more than 60,000 unique visitors a month.