Speech by Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, at the MinLaw Appreciation Dinner 2012
18 Oct 2012 Posted in Speeches
Attorney-General, friends, good evening.
This is a dinner we hold annually to acknowledge the contributions of various volunteers and friends to MinLaw, and in partnership with MinLaw.
One of the good things we can say is we never seem to be short of good people to partner with, and a lot of volunteers who help us in a number of different fields.
I’m now going to go through the contributions and the areas which our friends have helped us.
- LEGAL AID
- The Legal Aid Scheme was introduced in 1958.
- It provides access to justice for persons of limited means. I know there are a number of viewpoints as to whether it is adequate, and whether it should cover broader areas than civil law.
- As it is, Assigned Solicitors are a key pillar - they sit on the Legal Aid Board. They conduct talks and workshops for LAB. And we acknowledge them tonight.
- We also wish to acknowledge the efforts of the law firms, who encourage lawyers to volunteer to handle a significant number of assigned cases.
- For the development of the Assigned Solicitors, the Singapore Academy of Law now sponsors credit dollars which can be used from next year.
- We also wish to acknowledge non-practising lawyers and other volunteers w ho give advice at LAB as duty officers , w ho promote LAB’s work, and who assist with non-legal services like counselling.
- Copies of LAB’s inaugural Annual Review is on your seats . It highlights LAB’s work to increase, enhance access to justice and promote a pro bono spirit . This is an area which my ministry will be looking at carefully in the coming years.
- COMMUNITY MEDIATION
- The work of community mediators received substantial attention in the media.
- We think that is timely to continue the work on increasing awareness of community mediation as a viable way of resolving community and neighbourhood disputes.
- We have a large number of very dedicated volunteer mediators.
- We introduced a new Mediator ManagementFramework that we hope will further support mediators’ professional development.
- In September last year, we also formed an Advisory Committee on Community Mediation.
- It is chaired by Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee, a passionate champion of community mediation. It will try and promote public awareness of community mediation and promote services in the Community Mediation Centres.
- We thank and acknowledge Prof Ho and the committee for all the work they’ve put in.
- LEGAL INDUSTRY
- We are increasingly recognised as a top arbitration centre and dispute resolution centre in the world, probably the top in Asia and one of the top three or four in the world.
- A lot of effort has gone into that, put in by a lot of people.
- Key contributions were made by the Boards of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and Maxwell Chambers.
- Since 2007, SIAC has doubled the number of international arbitration cases that it handles annually. It is the fifth worldwide in terms of caseload of international administered arbitration cases. In t he first quarter of 2012 alone, the value of claims has exceeded the total value of all the claims last year.
- If we turn to Maxwell Chambers, it has been instrumental in enhancing the quality of our arbitration ecosystem, a nd has helped Singapore become the third most preferred seat of arbitration globally, after London and Geneva.
- In terms of the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration and Singapore Mediation Centre, they have played active roles to encourage growth in their respective areas.
- We thank all of our volunteers with these awards, who have helped us in these efforts.
- LAW REFORM
- Regular reviews of laws are necessary for us to keep up to date. They ensure that our laws remain relevant, and are in sync with the needs of society and social norms.
- The Law Society and law academics from NUS and SMU have worked with us and contributed tremendously to the efforts we have made in these areas including most recently, our review of the Mandatory Death Penalty. They have taken time off to work with us, share their views, and we have ongoing engagements.
- We hope that that will continue and we acknowledge their contributions.
- The Board of SLA comprises leading private sector professionals and industry leaders.
- We thank them for providing SLA with good insights, broader perspectives and for setting the strategic direction in the management of our State land and properties, key assets of the government.
- We are also grateful to members of the Strata Titles Board, Land Surveyors Board and the Appeals Board for Land Acquisition.
- The Appeals Board ensures that property owners dissatisfied with awards made for the acquisition of their properties can get a fair and expeditious hearing.
- As a side note, the compensation regime MinLaw has put in place over the last two years is now – most objective people would say - completely market-focused and extremely fair.
- INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
- The IPOS Board of Directors provides valuable direction and guidance to IPOS . It has enabled us to continually improve the IP regime and achieve international recognition.
- We also thank the IP Academy’s Board of Governors , the IP Competency Framework Steering and Working Committee, the IP Consult Series, the Patent Agent Qualifying Examination Board and Committee, and the various volunteers whom we regularly consult.
- They have also contributed significantly to the growth of the IP services sector and IP professions in Singapore. And in this context, the Copyright Tribunal – they play an important role in the resolution of copyri g ht licensing disputes.
- NATIONAL DAY AWARDS
- We congratulate the recipients of National Day Awards from MinLaw and the Attorney General’s Chambers who have performed well beyond the call of duty, and deserve recognition for the good service they have rendered to the State.
- We thank each one of you and those who are not here, for the invaluable contributions you have made, and of course, we hope that you will continue to help us.
- We hope that it is a journey that you will find meaningful and fulfilling as you walk it with us, for a better, more just society.
- We look forward to seeing you again next year.
Last updated on 22 Nov 2012