Project aims to help settle disputes and avoid court

A corps of primary justice lawyers will be formed under a new legal project which aims to provide basic legal services geared towards settlement.

The lawyers will provide a basic tier of legal services at a fixed fee by giving basic legal advice and facilitating settlement negotiations. This will increase access to justice as legal services will be more affordable and disputes can be resolved faster.

This was announced by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon on Friday in his keynote address at the Subordinate Courts Workplan Seminar.

He highlighted two key challenges to the enhancement of justice: inadequate information and litigation costs. Besides the new primary justice project, other initiatives to be rolled out this year include a guidebook which provides a range of liability findings for a comprehensive series of motor accident scenarios, and using smart phones to conduct hearings to save time for parties and counsel.

''Justice that cannot be accessed because it is beyond the reach of those who need it, ceases to serve its fundamental role of assuring legitimacy in our social framework,'' he said.