New online portal launched by Council of Asean Chief Justices offers guide to laws of each Asean country

Brunei's Justice Paduka Haji Hairol Arni Bin Haji Abdul Majid, Norwegian Ambassador to Asean Morten Hoglund and Singapore's Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon launching the Asean Judiciaries Portal on July 27, 2018.
Brunei's Justice Paduka Haji Hairol Arni Bin Haji Abdul Majid, Norwegian Ambassador to Asean Morten Hoglund and Singapore's Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon launching the Asean Judiciaries Portal on July 27, 2018.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Firms looking to invest in an Asean country can now look for the relevant laws of the country on an online portal launched on Friday (July 27).

Called the Asean Judiciaries Portal, it also provides information such as 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 during the launch at Supreme Court, which was held as part of the ongoing 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 work closer together, he added.

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 all judicial training courses on offer in Asean, CJ Menon said. Currently, 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," said CJ Menon.

Launched by the CACJ, the portal will be maintained by the Singapore Academy of Law. Development and maintenance funding came from the Norwegian government. The grant, amounting to 3.6 million kroners (S$598,660), is expected to last until July 2020.

In his speech on Friday, 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.