Law reforms, school among key goals

Singapore's third law school - which will focus on criminal and family law - will be set up at SIM University.
Singapore's third law school - which will focus on criminal and family law - will be set up at SIM University. PHOTO: ST FILE

Wide-ranging reforms to civil and criminal law. A new law school to train family and criminal lawyers. And moves to position Singapore as an international legal hub.

Law Minister K. Shanmugam outlined some of his ministry's key goals in his Addendum to the President's Address yesterday.

The Law Ministry would be looking into "substantive reforms in civil and criminal law". "Our aim is to improve the civil justice system, improve enforcement of civil judgments and, where possible, remove unnecessary complexities in the civil justice system," he said.

There will also be reforms to the Guardianship of Infants Act, Intestate Succession Act and the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act.

Singapore's third law school - which will focus on criminal and family law - will also be set up at SIM University.

At the same time, bankruptcy laws will also be reviewed, with individual and corporate insolvency legislation unified under a single Act.

At present, the Bankruptcy Act deals with individual debtors, while the Companies Act handles corporate insolvency. "We will be introducing a more rehabilitative system that allows bankrupts to be discharged within clear timeframes," said Mr Shanmugam.

Finally, the ministry will also seek to solidify Singapore as an international hub for legal services.

In the past two years, the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) and Singapore International Mediation Centre were set up. The SICC heard its first case last year, a $1.1 billion dispute between the Singapore subsidiary of an Australian firm and an Indonesian firm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2016, with the headline 'Law reforms, school among key goals'. Print Edition | Subscribe