Firms looking to invest in an Asean country can now look for the relevant laws of the country on an online portal launched yesterday.
Called the Asean Judiciaries Portal, it also contains the directories of law firms, mediators and public notaries in each country.
"It is our hope that the knowledge afforded by having easy access to... information will support commerce and promote the flow of investments in the Asean region," said Singapore Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon at the launch at Supreme Court, which was held as part of the Asean Law Week.
He had said in earlier speeches that legal uncertainty was one of the greatest obstacles to trade and investment in Asia.
Besides boosting investors' confidence in the region, the portal can help Asean judiciaries to work closer together, he said. For example, the portal will have a private section for members of the Council of Asean Chief Justices (CACJ) to share ideas and discuss joint projects and papers.
In time, the site may even list judicial training courses on offer in Asean, CJ Menon said. The council is working on proposals to improve Asean judiciary standards through education and training. "Once this has been effectively implemented, judges in Asean will be able to see, at a glance, all the judicial training opportunities available in all 10 Asean member states at any given point in time," CJ Menon added.
Launched by the CACJ, the portal will be maintained by the Singapore Academy of Law.
Development and maintenance funding for the online portal came from the Norwegian government. The grant, amounting to 3.6 million kroners (S$599,000), is expected to last until July 2020.
In a speech yesterday, Norwegian Ambassador to Asean Morten Hoglund said the website is a valuable tool for strengthening the Asean economic community.
Mr Thian Tai Chew, assistant executive director (Asean) at the Singapore Business Federation, said firms will appreciate any efforts to organise useful information into one portal. "Information categorised by country is useful as it allows businesses to zoom quickly into a particular country of interest," he added.