A new Progress Accountability Court as well as a State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution will be set up, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon announced at the annual workplan seminar of the newly-named State Courts on Friday.
Aiming to reduce recidivism rates in Singapore by promoting rehabilitation among offenders after their sentencing, the Progress Accountability Court will monitor their rehabilitation through regular and ad hoc reviews. In its pilot stage, the new Court will focus on offenders who have been given probation and community-based sentences.
Meanwhile, the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution hopes to encourage alternative dispute resolutions outside the courts. It will coordinate existing efforts, which have resulted in more than 80 per cent of cases ending in settlements. It will also partner other players such as universities and lawyers on outreach projects and training, and collaborate with both local and overseas stakeholders on research in this area.
Chief Justice Menon said that the new centre will build on the Courts' philosophy of promoting alternative ways of settling disputes as a "first stop" for all cases entering the court system.
On Friday, before the workplan meeting, the Subordinate Courts were officially renamed State Courts. Their new logo was also unveiled.
Chief Justice Menon said the new name "gives proper recognition to the extensive and important role these courts play within our community as the primary dispensers of justice". The term "subordinate" could "potentially contribute to misconceptions over their role and function", he added.
The lower courts handle more than 95 per cent of the judiciary's total case load, or about 350,000 cases a year on average.