Do you know that Singapore still adopts the English Law with English Land Law and doctrines by virtue of the Second Charter of Justice 1826. This provided for the English doctrines and other real property concepts to apply in Singapore. However, it is also subjected to our own statues which are modified to suit our country. This also prevents any injustice or oppression.

Application of English Law Act 1993 (AELA)

This act states that English law is still applicable to the Singapore context. The common and equity law will still be applicable to Singapore. However, subject to any modifications if deemed necessary under different circumstances. This Act removes any doubt about the extent of applicability of the English Law.

Common Law System

  1. Parliament can enact laws which are called Act of Parliament/Legislation/Statues. eg. Planning Act.
  2. Judges made laws which are made in courts, precedents and Case Law.

Parliament enacted laws are said to be final, however, scenarios may differ and words may have a different meaning. Thus it is left for the judges to decide based on common/equity laws.

Singapore Legal System

Modes Of Dispute Resolution
  • Non-judicial
    • Mediation
    • Negotiation
    • Arbitration
  • Judicial
    • Litigation/Court
Hierarchy of Courts

Based on the most powerful court being number 1

  1. Court Of Appeal
  2. High Court
  3. State Courts
Doctrine of Binding Precedent

It states that higher court ruling binds lower court rulings. You can continue litigation by going to higher courts if you are unhappy with the lower court decision. Which means that if the High court made a ruling, it would form precedent over the State Court when they make a judgement for any similar cases. By looking at previous precedents, parties can roughly determine their success rate. Parties could end up settling privately if the cost and benefits are not favourable.

Civil and Criminal Law

To identify civil cases you can see it as a behaviour that causes an injury to an individual, a private party or corporation. Civil cases are often solved through payment of damages, injunction or specific action. It hardly leads to imprisonment. Examples are a breach of contract, negligence, a duty of care.

To identify criminal cases you can see it as a behaviour that is an offence against the public, society, or the state— even if the immediate victim is an individual. This often brings about prosecution by the government sector such as the police. This result in enforcement which includes fine and imprisonment. There is a higher burden of proof for criminal cases as compared to civil cases. Examples are murder, theft, drink driving.

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