Response Speech by Senior Minister of State for Law Edwin Tong at the Committee of Supply Debate 2020 (Ministry of Law)
28 Feb 2020 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
- Mr Chairman, I thank the Members for their speeches and for the queries that they have raised, I will address them.
Setting the context
- MinLaw’s mission is, broadly, two-fold:
a. First, to continually update our legal framework to meet both today’s and tomorrow’s needs;
b. Second, to work together with our stakeholders, to strengthen Singapore’s position as a leading international legal services hub for Asia, and of course, the world.
- In the past two years, we –
a. Have passed many pieces of legislation, to achieve these objectives.
b. We have redoubled our efforts at establishing Singapore as a legal services hub
- This has included, as Mr Sitoh has said, the signing of the Singapore Convention on Mediation, and I’ll touch more on that in a moment.
- Our focus for the coming year will be to –
a. Implement the changes.
b. Ensure also, that every Singaporean can be confident of effective access to justice in Singapore.
- Our legal system must be user-friendly, must be affordable, and must provide effective solutions.
- It must also be accessible to the most vulnerable amongst us.
c. We will therefore continue to grow the legal services sector to ensure that more can enjoy the benefits of this growth, whilst at the same time ensuring that those who require and need those services will have access to those services.
Strengthening our legal framework to meet both present needs, and tomorrow's needs
- Let me begin by speaking about my Ministry’s efforts to strengthen the overall legal framework. Mr Christopher de Souza and Ms Jessica Tan and I think several others have touched on this.
- First, family justice.
a. Those who use the family justice system are usually in a state of emotional turmoil or mental anguish, have seen their families break up. It is not a legal proceeding that they wish to be in.
b. They are often also vulnerable – especially those families with children, whose interests, above all, must be looked after. And that’s the design focus of our laws – to look after the children in any matrimonial or familial proceedings.
- This awareness has driven our revamp of the family justice framework, since 2014, as Members would be aware.
a. Our aim:
- Is to reduce time, cost and perhaps most importantly, unnecessary acrimony.
- To recognise and protect the interests of the children, so that the acrimony does not affect and adversely weigh on the outcomes for the children.
- In 2019, more than 55% of divorce cases were decided on the simplified track, which is faster, less costly and obviously less painful – up from just 24% in 2015.
- These are encouraging numbers, but we do want to go further.
- The Government has therefore accepted the recommendations of the Committee to Review and Enhance Reforms in the Family Justice System, or “RERF Committee”.
a. The Committee was tasked to look beyond just legal proceedings, and instead focus on designing a robust ecosystem of support for families.
b. The Committee made recommendations on mental capacity issues, to address the needs of our ageing population as well.
- We are working with our stakeholders to implement these recommendations and put them into place.
- Ms Jessica Tan spoke about the enforcement of maintenance orders. This is an important concern, and we don’t want someone to have to spend time running from pillar to post, to try to recover something that the court has already granted, by way of an order. We have already taken steps over the years to address this issue.
a. Where the spouse cannot find work, perhaps due to poor health or other reasons why the order cannot be fulfilled, we should recognise that support services rather than legal proceedings will provide more effective relief for the wife and the children concerned.
b. Nevertheless, at the same time, our laws provide tools to deal with a spectrum of options, different situations – including imprisonment if necessary, so that we can enforce and give teeth to orders that have been made in court. This serves as a strong deterrent.
c. But overall, Members should be assured that where there are genuine financial difficulties, circumstances that the family faces, the Courts will more likely order mediation or financial counselling to find a solution, rather than to just simply impose the hard law.
- The Government is considering how to make the overall maintenance regime, both in terms of the orders made as well as the enforcement, simpler and more effective.
- Moving on to civil justice.
a. Two committees – one convened by my Ministry, and another by the Judiciary – made broad-ranging recommendations to enhance the efficiency, the affordability, and the overall effectiveness of our court system.
b. We have completed public consultation and further discussions with key stakeholders, and will introduce legislation to implement some of the changes in due course.
- Mr Patrick Tay raised concerns with the enforcement of Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT) orders.
a. We are studying recommendations to streamline and simplify the enforcement of judgments and orders, and will announce more details in due course, once we have completed that.
- Mr Tay also suggested that, in the case of insolvent companies, or companies that either can’t or have been unable or refuse to pay the wages, that the Ministry of Manpower can advance money to the worker and thereafter stand in his place as a preferred creditor.
a. I understand that MOM has looked at this proposal before.
b. And Mr Tay will probably know that while doing so may well help that specific worker in the immediate short term, it may also inadvertently create a larger problem of a viable company defaulting or owing the salaries, in knowledge that the workers could find an alternative avenue to obtain those payments using Government funds. Overall, this leads to a potentially bigger problem in the system for a longer term.
- That said, for workers with no other alternative to recover unpaid salaries, the Short-term Relief Fund (STRF) and the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund (MWAF) can be tapped on. These provide ex-gratia payments to low wage employees whose employers were unable to repay salaries due to financial difficulties or business failure.
- On the publication of certain ECT decisions, My Tay would know that
a. Today, ECT judgments or grounds of decision are available to the public, upon request. Why upon request, because the original proceedings in the first place under the statute, are held in camera, are held in private, to protect the confidentiality of the parties. So it follows that whatever takes place in those proceedings, is not reported as a right.
b. But the ECT will assess requests for the judgments or grounds of decision, and where appropriate, such as where it will help future cases, or there’s strong precedential value, then those will become available.
- I understand that the Ministry of Manpower also makes applications to the ECT to publish judgments or grounds of decision that become useful reference points for parties in the same vein as I outlined.
- Next, let me touch on criminal justice. On this, we worked closely with MHA and our stakeholders in the past two years to make wide-ranging amendments to both procedural and substantive criminal law.
- In particular, the Penal Code amendments have kept our legislation apace with emerging crime trends developing here and around the world, and strengthened protection in particular for vulnerable victims.
- We have implemented most of these changes.
- This year, my Ministry is supporting the work of the newly-formed Criminal Procedure Rules Committee, chaired by the Chief Justice. This Committee will ensure that court procedure remains nimble, and also adaptable to adjust and meet evolving needs.
- Mr Christopher de Souza and Ms Jessica Tan asked about supporting the efforts of Singapore enterprises to thrive in an innovation-driven economy. We have several initiatives. In the interest of time, let me just highlight a few.
- First, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, or IPOS, and the Singapore Exchange, or SGX, have launched a new Intangible Disclosure Evaluation and Audit Scheme, or IDEAS for short.
a. IDEAS provides a subsidy of up to $10,000 for companies to undergo an Intangible Asset evaluation and audit.
b. This identifies Intangible Assets that are critical to the companies’ businesses, and recommends how to report them in a way that best communicates the business value of these Intangible Assets, to their investors and the market, obviously to try to realise the full value of such Intangible Assets.
c. And this helps companies when they raise funds, financing.
- Second, IPOS’ subsidiary, IPOS International, helps enterprises develop strategies to protect, to manage and also commercialise the Intangible Assets and IP.
a. To date, IPOS International has helped about 100 enterprises, with close to 95% of them being SMEs and start-ups. That’s in answer to Ms Tan’s question as to what help has been given to companies in Singapore.
b. It has also developed a series of IP management business guides, which around 1,000 enterprises have accessed.
c. Around 70 enterprises have used IPOS International’s diagnostic tool, “illuminate® for enterprises”, to assess their IP and Intangible Assets risks and gaps, and perhaps they will be working on them eventually and also take advantage of IDEAS.
- Third, we have expanded our patent acceleration initiatives last year to cover Artificial Intelligence (AI) patent applications.
a. AI patent applications can now be granted as early as six months after filing.
b. This supports the development of innovative AI technologies, and helps companies with these technologies to remain competitive, ahead of the curve. As we know, technology sometimes is outmoded very quickly, so the quicker we can deal with the patent applications, the more value it is to the companies.
- Finally, the newly-launched IPOS Go mobile app enables businesses to register their trade mark in just 10 minutes, down from the previous average of about 45 to 60 minutes. To date, over 150 businesses have used the IPOS Go app to protect their brands. These points will also be of interest to Mr Singh, who asked about how we design processes, systems, with the end user in mind.
Ensuring that every Singaporean is confident of effective access to justice
- Let me also turn now to address Ms Tan’s and Ms Rahayu’s points about access to justice.
Civil Legal Aid
- First, on civil legal aid, one change we have implemented is the increased flexibility to grant aid.
a. Applicants who do not satisfy the means criteria but are unable to afford basic legal services without otherwise causing significant hardship to themselves or their families, may now have their applications reviewed by an independent Means Test Panel.
b. The panel may waive the means criteria for deserving applicants.
c. The grant of aid will of course still be subject to the merits test, to ensure that applicants have good reasons to bring or to defend their cases in law.
- Mr Patrick Tay asked about improving service delivery for legal aid.
- We will do so through a number of key initiatives. Let me just quickly outline them.
- First, we have just launched the revamped Applicant Portal for civil legal aid, and new features will be included over the next few weeks.
a. When completed, this portal will –
- Do away with the need to appear in person to complete the means testing and also the statement taking.
- It reduces the need for applicants to provide information that the Government already has. For a start, we will tap on MyInfo to provide personal details and income information. These are the key criteria in accessing an application for legal aid. This will reduce processing time by at least two weeks, speeding up the process so that access to legal aid can be granted more quickly.
- At the same time, it’s two-way, allows the applicants to check the status of their application and be updated as to their progress
- Second, the Legal Aid Bureau has just launched the first phase of its new chatbot, “iLAB”.
a. It will be able to provide basic legal information to LAB’s potential applicants.
b. It will also be able to triage them based on the nature of the case and in most cases, this will save applicants a trip to LAB to discuss it with the case officers in person.
c. Finally, we are working to include a feature which will allow users to generate simple legal documents. Potential applicants can use these documents for self-help. They don’t have to go to see lawyers, there will be a portal where simple, standardised documents, commonly used, will be generated. We hope to launch this in the next few weeks.
- Mr Singh spoke about design thinking. I think these are all features which fit towards that and it is a good reminder by Mr Singh that we should be looking at various enhancements to ensure that they are designed around our clients’ needs. I take the point that it ought not be dense or verbose and will endeavour to avoid it.
a. Putting information online, and enabling online applications, making it two-way, the process being dynamic, will make it easier for our clients who may find it difficult to be away from their families or take time away from work.
b. We also undertook 3 rounds of rigorous user testing with LAB clients on the Applicant Portal and also iLAB, because we recognise that it can also be very frustrating if it doesn’t work; the Portal is not intuitive and not interactive enough. So we have been fairly rigorous in the way we have tested it before it goes out to the market.
- The broader legal ecosystem also designs access to justice and legal awareness with the end user in mind.
- For example, the Courts have pioneered an online dispute resolution system which litigants-in-persons can use to conduct negotiations and mediation for claims online. Mr Sitoh will be glad to hear that as well. You can now mediate your case online as well, for the Small Claims Tribunal, and we are exploring new features such as asynchronous hearings to make it more convenient for Singaporeans to resolve their disputes. So rather than to have parties appear at the same time, at the same place, these facilities make it easier, facilitate claims before the Small Claims Tribunal, and also allow for some mediations to take place.
- I shall elaborate more closely on the law firms’ adoption of technology, a point raised by Ms Rahayu, later in my speech.
Criminal Legal Aid
- Let me now touch on criminal legal aid. MinLaw has also been working with our partners on the Criminal Legal Assistance Steering Committee (“CLA SC”), including the Law Society as well as the Criminal Bar, to review the means criteria for the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, or “CLAS”.
a. We will adopt the new means criteria and limits for civil legal aid, for CLAS as well.
b. These changes will also simplify and therefore shorten the application process, whilst at the same time maintaining the rigour of the means test which we need to have, given that these are public funds that are being used.
c. We will be working with the Law Society Pro Bono Services, which administers CLAS, to implement the changes in the coming year.
d. Despite these changes, I wish to assure Members of this House that there will be no material impact on the overall number of households eligible for criminal legal aid.
- We will also continue to support the efforts of LSPBS to improve the administration of CLAS. This includes using technology to make the application process more efficient and user-friendly.
- At this juncture, let me acknowledge the strong support of members of the Bar, without whom this system, the scheme, would not have been quite so strong.
a. Since 2015, the five largest law firms, Allen & Gledhill, Dentons Rodyk, Drew & Napier, Rajah & Tann and WongPartnership, have generously sponsored the CLAS Fellowship to enable lawyers to join LSPBS to exclusively handle criminal legal aid cases.
b. 16 law firms have also signed Memoranda of Understanding (“MOUs”) to pledge to take on CLAS cases.
- I thank the lawyers, legal fraternity for their support of this programme.
Ensuring Access to Justice beyond Legal Aid
- Ms Rahayu asked about support for Singaporeans who cannot qualify for legal aid. To do so, we continue to forge strong partnerships with stakeholders to provide affordable legal help. So even if you can’t qualify for these programmes, what else do we do?
a. We work with the LSPBS, the legal fraternity, our community partners to provide legal help through Community Legal Clinics, and various legal literacy and legal assistance programmes.
b. The Government also works with the Law Society and the Law Schools to cultivate a strong pro bono culture within the legal profession.
- For example, law students are exposed to pro bono work from the early stage, they have structured internships with the Legal Aid Bureau (LAB) to inculcate not just the spirit, but also to allow us to tap onto the law students to assist in our pro bono programmes.
- There have also been efforts by the wider legal ecosystem. For example:
a. The Singapore Academy of Law will be launching a collaborative workspace called “CLICKS @ State Courts”, which will help firms adopt technology by providing them with shared amenities and facilities such as meeting rooms and office equipment.
b. By reducing such operational costs, firms can then consider providing accessible and affordable legal services.
- But I think Ms Rahayu will agree with me when I say that access to justice goes beyond legal aid and just providing low bono or pro bono services. It is equally important that we see access to justice
a. as understanding the problems in daily life, understanding at what stage there should be legal and perhaps also social intervention,
b. so that we can provide simple yet effective, and as far as possible, long-lasting solutions to the problem at hand, and not just fix the surface, leaving the underlying problem to continue to rear its ugly head.
- My Ministry has put in place various legal frameworks to deal with these issues.
- We have, over the last year or so, worked to establish the new Protection from Harassment Court.
a. It will have specialised expertise and processes.
b. Cases will be heard by specially trained judges.
c. Volunteers will be on hand to assist victims, including from a social aspect, and not just from a legal aspect.
- These changes are intended to minimise anxiety and stress, and to ensure that the victims of harassment can obtain effective remedies
- Second, the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal (CDRT) – we continue to monitor its effectiveness as part of the broader framework that we have to resolve community disputes, and also study areas for improvement of the processes.
- However, I would stress mutually agreed solutions between two individuals or two neighbours, for instance, should always remain the first port of call, should always be the first base that one goes to, instead of triggering a process in court. The CDRT, as far as possible, should be a measure of last resort.
- So, we urge Singaporeans to engage their neighbours in an amicable manner, when disputes arise.
a. Use community mediation services, use Grassroots leaders who can facilitate the process.
b. On community mediation, I would stress that the approach has been effective: In the past 3 years, more than 80% of the cases mediated before the Community Mediation Centre (CMC) have resulted in a successful resolution arising from the mediation.
- Third, the Government is also reviewing the processes and requirements for the application of probate and letters of administration. Mr Murali Pillai has asked for an update on this.
a. Amongst other things, we are considering digitalising the process in sort of the same fashion that I have been outlining. To make it simpler, easier and faster, and linking up government systems to facilitate retrieval of information.
b. And also streamlining the requirements imposed on applicants.
c. These, I believe, will improve the experiences of Singaporeans dealing with end-of-life issues.
d. But even as we streamline, we must be careful that the law will continue to protect the interests of beneficiaries. This is one area where the original stakeholder, or perhaps owner of the assets, is not around to say how it should be done, or what his intentions were. So we do have to be careful within this rubric, to strike an appropriate balance, so that we can look out for the interest of both the convenience of the parties applying, as well as the rigour of what the interest of the beneficiaries ought to be.
e. We will provide more details in the coming year.
- Ms Jessica Tan asked about unscrupulous contractors. I mean we have all seen one or more of these types of individuals at some stage, and I think it is frustrating. Let me give some suggestions as to what can be done.
- There is the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), which I think Mr Lim Biow Chuan can share more information on.
- CASE publishes a Consumer Alert List on its website. That’s a useful first port of call.
a. There will be sanctions against errant suppliers.It lists companies that have had multiple complaints made against them.
b. And operates to warn consumers about contractors with poor track records. So to those cases that Ms Tan has spoken about, where there have been repeated cases, it ought to be on this list, if not then we’ll try and find a way to better police it so that members of the public can be warned.
- If there are unfair practices – for example, false misleading claims and so on – CASE may refer the matter to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) for further action under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.
a. There will be sanctions against errant suppliers.
- Where an amicable settlement is not possible even with CASE’s assistance, consumers can then file claims with the Small Claims Tribunals (SCT).
a. The SCT provides a forum that is low cost, no lawyers are involved, so for example, claimants are only required to pay $10 for claims up to $5,000 in value. And the SCT may order one party to pay money to another party, arising from these claims, and also order a party to make good on deficiencies in the carrying out of, in your example, construction contracts, for instance.
Strengthening Singapore's position as a legal services hub
- Moving on, Mr Christopher De Souza and Mr Sitoh Yih Pin spoke about strengthening Singapore’s position as a premier international legal services and dispute resolution hub.
- Members will know that we are constantly looking at how we can enhance this, what we can do, what other spaces we can fill, and what other opportunities there will be for the Singapore brand. We look at what we can do to
a. create value for the economy,
b. enhance Singapore’s value-add as a business hub, and of course ultimately
c. provide good jobs for Singaporeans.
- We also want to support our people and businesses in exploiting these opportunities as far as possible.
Conditional Fee Agreements
- One area in which we are moving to keep pace with the competition is in the area of conditional fee agreements (CFAs).
a. Following public consultations last year, we are working on introducing a CFA framework for certain categories of proceedings.
b. The framework will help our lawyers and law practices by
- levelling the playing field for Singaporean lawyers and law practices,
- as against foreign lawyers who may already be able to offer such arrangements in their own jurisdictions.
Promoting the Use of Singapore Law
- Second, we are also promoting the use of Singapore law. Our initiatives include –
a. Increasing free access to Singapore judgements. Steps have been taken to make more Supreme Court judgments from the year 2000 freely available online, and also potentially even earlier judgments.
b. Second, encouraging published research on areas of Singapore law that are relevant to commercial parties internationally; and
c. Finally, promoting standard forms, use of straightforward standard forms governed by Singapore law.
- Mr Sitoh asked about progress in dispute resolution.
- Singapore remains one of the leading hubs for dispute resolution in the world today:
a. We have flagship institutions that Mr de Souza mentioned, providing a full suite of dispute resolution services;
b. We have best-in-class hearing facilities at Maxwell Chambers.
- We will continue to strengthen that framework by supporting the ecosystem for viable international dispute resolution services.
a. We have various reviews underway, including a review of the International Arbitration Act.
- I earlier mentioned the Singapore Convention on Mediation.
a. Yes, indeed, we were one of the first two countries, together with Fiji, to ratify the Convention. This took place a few days ago in New York.
- These efforts, not just to get countries to sign and to ratify, but to promote more countries to come on board, have broader implications for Singapore’s place in the world –
a. it is a powerful statement for multilateralism, and
b. has also enhanced our reputation in the international arena.
- We will build on the signing of the Convention last year. We will host a second annual Singapore Convention Conference in September this year, and this will be part of a week of events related to dispute resolution services.
a. This Conference and indeed, the Week, will continue to position Singapore as a thought leader in this field, and also a forum that parties can choose to come to, regardless of whether the ultimate contract or the subject matter of their agreement is in Singapore or not.
International Civil Cooperation
- In the area of civil cooperation, Mr Murali Pillai asked about the legalisation of documents. I think it’s a point that Mr Pillai has raised several times, the Hague Apostille Convention.
a. We agree that this would be useful, and we are currently working towards accession.
b. This will include preparing the necessary draft legislation domestically in order to accede to the Convention, and thereafter we will be in a position to do so.
Ensuring that as many as possible enjoy the benefits of this growth
- All these efforts will create opportunities for those –
a. in the legal sector, and
b. also for those who want to enter the legal sector.
- On this note, Ms Rahayu asked what is the Government doing to support lawyers and law firms to exploit these opportunities.
- Let me, in the interest of time, outline a few initiatives.
Technology Innovation Roadmap
- First, we will be launching a Technology Innovation Roadmap. What does this do?
a. The roadmap is a product of intensive consultations with more than 80 stakeholders. These include
- law firms,
- law schools,
- research institutes, and
- other government agencies.
c. Altum Law Corporation is a 5-lawyer strong Singapore law firm.
- Under the Tech Start for Law and Tech-celerate for Law schemes, MinLaw and the Law Society curated a shortlist of technology solutions and also vendors to help address common problems and issues amongst smaller law firms.
- Grants to support up to 70% of adoption costs were also available under the schemes.
- Strong efforts have been made to promote these schemes. The Law Society reached out to at least 450 Singapore Law Practices through workshops and seminars to promote this programme. Altum was one of those who was a participant in these events. They were able to upgrade from the standard suite of Microsoft Office products to legal technology solutions that were more curated and were better suited to their needs.
- The firm achieved time and cost savings from automating routine but important tasks, including shortening the time required to complete the checking of references in documents by up to 66%.
- So this Roadmap will include plans to:
a. Continue funding law firms, help them to understand what technology can do for their efficiency, and also expand support to in-house legal teams to adopt legal technology.
- As Mr Patrick Tay mentioned, this reflects our belief that both those in practice, as well as those in the in-house role, have much to benefit from adopting legal technology.
c. And also reform legal education to build a pipeline of tech-ready legal professionals to support the legal industry.
- More details will be announced later this year.
- Let me touch on Mr Tay’s other point on mid-career PMETs. We will help such PMETs exploit new opportunities that will be created.
- The Law Society and Workforce Singapore have developed a Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) to help employers hire and reskill mid-career PMETs to join the legal sector as paralegals or legal secretaries.
- Paralegals and support services do play an important role in Singapore’s legal industry. We note Mr Patrick Tay’s suggestions and we will continue to work with the relevant stakeholders so that we can continue to support this segment of the legal industry more closely.
- Third, we will be conducting the first run of the China-Ready Programme for Singapore lawyers later this year.
a. The programme will expand the pool of Singapore lawyers who
- can understand Chinese culture, the way business is done, the legal system and laws,
- are conversant with Mandarin, and
- can also work with Chinese companies and law firms to better meet clients’ needs.
- Finally, before I run out of time, let me touch on some of the questions relating to the work of the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). SLA optimises land resources to support the economic and social development of Singapore – that’s its overall mission. It plays a number of roles, including –
a. As Mr de Souza outlined, optimising the use of State land; and of course, also
b. Developing Singapore’s geospatial capabilities.
- Let me elaborate on some key initiatives.
- The SLA is intensifying its efforts to engage and collaborate with stakeholders and the public, on the interim use of vacant State land and properties.
- For example, Members would be aware that SLA and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) launched the “Power-Up Pasir Panjang” ideas competition in April 2019.
a. They reached out to the public, professionals and students, to co-create and give ideas for what can be done in the Power District.
b. A total of 79 submissions were received, which demonstrates the interest of the public and the professional sector in trying to contribute to ideas on what can be done.
c. These ideas will be distilled into design principles guiding the Power District’s development for the next 15 to 20 years, including the former Pasir Panjang Power Station ‘A’.
- In the coming weeks, SLA will also be launching engagements with stakeholders to rejuvenate Old Kallang Airport. This is part of the “Reinventing Spaces into Vibrant Places” initiative that was launched with URA in 2019.
- SLA is also partnering NParks to develop a site at Tanglin Road into a community use space with a playground, benches, something that will appeal to members of the public.
- Let me now quickly finish up with the geospatial front. There will be a full launch of OneMap 3D that will take place later this year.
a. The map will allow users to visualise Singapore in 3D
b. This will support the efforts of businesses and the public who will have new platforms to support their services and products, as well as develop services for the community at large.
- SLA will be launching the 3D Singapore Sandbox this year.
a. It will facilitate private sector access to 3D geospatial models and data on a restricted basis.
b. Through this, we hope to encourage the private sector to experiment with innovative solutions and services for their customers and the general public, using 3D geospatial models.
c. The Sandbox will enable SLA to obtain feedback from the private sector to enhance the experience and to improve the geospatial models
- Mr Chairman, in conclusion, my Ministry will continue
a. To ensure that Singaporeans continue to enjoy effective access to high-quality justice. That’s fundamental.
b. Also, to build on Singapore’s attractiveness as a legal services hub, ensuring that the benefit of the ensuing growth will be shared by more.
- Importantly, we do all this not on our own, but through working closely with many stakeholders – the Bench, the Bar, legal industry, universities, law students and the wider community – and for that, we are very grateful. Thank you, Mr Chairman.
Last updated on 28 Feb 2020