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Singapore Legal Sytem 3
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Singapore Legal Sytem 3

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  • 1.
    • Brief History
    • Purpose of Legal Education
    • Challenges to Legal Education
  • 2.
    • Qualified lawyers from UK
    • Pre-War Period: Legal Education in UK - Inns of Court
    • Establishment of Law Dept 1957
    • Law Faculty 1959
  • 3.
    • Lionel Astor Sheridan and the founding of the Law Faculty
    • Established key principles of legal education - Academic as opposed to vocational training
    • Emphasis on liberal study of law as intellectual discipline
  • 4.
    • 1957-1966: Period of Liberal Legal Education
    • 1966-1982: Period of Professional Training
    • 1982-date: Legal Training as training for administration
  • 5.
    • The Jayakumar-Chin Report 1981
    • Phase I - compulsory ‘core’ subjects
    • Phase II - inclusion of ‘non-law’ optionals
    • Why did you study law?
  • 6.
    • Purpose of Legal Education
    • Equipping for Practice
    • Development of the Mind
    • Engagement of the Soul
    • In what proportion?
    • How important is theory?
  • 7.
    • Challenges to Legal Education
    • Internationalisation of legal practice
    • Need for greater specialisation
    • Changing nature of legal work
    • What skills will you need?
    • Are lawyers really necessary?
  • 8.
    • Legal Profession - based on English system of advocacy
    • Historical antecedents - barrister and solicitors
    • Fused profession
    • Law agents 1839–1852
  • 9.
    • Act XXX of 1867
    • Fused profession
    • Barrister and solicitors
    • Admission criteria
      • Qualified Persons
      • Malayan Practitioner
      • Hong Kong Practioner
  • 10.
    • Qualified Persons
    • Before 1 May 1993
    • LLB from MU, SU or NUS
    • Barrister from England or Northern Ireland or Member of Faculty of Advocates in Scotland
  • 11.
    • Qualified Persons
    • Solicitor in England or Northern Ireland
    • Possession of degree or qualification declared by Minister to qualify
    • Possession of qualification and satisfied requirements as Minister may prescribe
    • Approved as qualified person
  • 12.
    • Committee on Supply of Lawyers
    • Legal Profession (Amendment) Act 1993
    • Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Rules
  • 13.
    • LLB NUS - 2nd Lower if admitted after 1 May 1993
    • LLB SMU – GPA of at least 3.00
    • UK LLB - LLB 2nd Upper if admitted after 1 Jan 1997
    • JD – top 40% in Law School
    • LLB from institution of higher learning in First Schedule - 2nd Upper
    • No dual degree or accelerated courses
    • Combined degree – subject to approval
  • 14. United Kingdom Birmingham Bristol Cambridge Durham Exeter Leeds Leicester Liverpool King's College LSE QMWC SOAS UCL Manchester Nottingham Oxford Sheffield Southampton Warwick
  • 15. Australia Australian National University Flinders Monash University, Melbourne Murdoch New South Wales Queensland Sydney Tasmania Western Australia Canada Osgood Hall, York University of Toronto New Zealand Auckland Victoria United States Harvard New York Law School Columbia University Michigan University University of HONG KONG University of MALAYA
  • 16.
    • Good character
    • Prescribed pupillage - 6 months
    • Board of Legal Education prescribed course - Practice Law Course (PLC)
  • 17.
    • Practising Certificate
    • Exclusive right to appear and plead in all courts of justice
    • No differentiation between advocates and solicitors
    • Senior Counsel - introduced 1988
    • Remuneration for work
  • 18.
    • Law Society of Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law
  • 19.
    • Before 1967 - Bar Committee (established 1934)
    • 1967 - Advocates and Solicitors Society (Law Society of Singapore)
    • All advocates and solicitors automatically Society members
    • Maintain & improve standards of conduct & learning
    • Makes rules and regulations
    • Deals with misconduct
  • 20.
    • Established 1988
    • Continuing legal education
    • Meeting place for all connected with the law
    • 1995 - wider role
    • Appointment of notaries public, commissioners of oaths
    • Study, development and operation of law
    • Commercial mediation
    • Governed by Senate headed by President - Chief Justice
  • 21.
    • Legal Profession Act
    • Regulation and discipline of advocates & solicitors
    • Issues Practice Directions and Rulings on professional conduct
    • Legal Profession (Professional Conduct) Rules 1988
    • Code of Conduct operational from 1 Jun 1998
  • 22.
    • Criminal conviction implying defect of character
    • Fraudulent or grossly improper conduct in discharge of professional duty
    • Bankruptcy
    • Contingency
    • Touting
    • Allowing unauthorised person to undertake legal work
  • 23.
    • Misconduct unbefitting advocate & solicitor
    • Carries on trade or calling detracting from profession of law
    • Failure to comply with the Act
    • Has been disbarred, struck off or suspended by another country
  • 24.
    • Complaint received
    • Council refers to Chairman of Inquiry Committee (IC)
    • Convenes to hear complaint within 2 weeks
    • IC Reports to Law Society Council - to investigate or not
    • Apply to CJ to convene Disciplinary Committee
  • 25.
    • Not more than 5 persons appointed by CJ who are retired judges or advocates or solicitors of not less than 12 years’ experience, practising advocate & solicitor or legal officer of at least 10 years’ experience.
    • Decide if there is any cause of sufficient gravity for show cause action
    • Show cause why advocate & solicitor should not be struck off roll
  • 26.
    • Growth of large practices
    • Multi-disciplinary practices
    • Multi-national practices
    • Foreign law firms - WTO and FTA requirements?
  • 27.
    • Accorded privileges on account of monopoly
    • Duties owed as a consequence
  • 28.
    • Advocate & Solicitor
    • Valid Practising Certificate
    • Representation of parties in judicial proceeding
  • 29.
    • Acting as solicitor
      • Preparing documents pertaining to legal proceedings
      • Probate and administration documents
      • Letters threatening legal action
      • Negotiating claims involving death or personal injury
    • Exceptions - AG, SG & others
  • 30.
    • Duty to the Court
    • Undertakings
    • Duty to Client
    • Duty to Other Lawyers
    • Duty to Others
    • Duty Regarding funds
    • Duty to Act Properly
  • 31.
    • LPA s 79(1) - ‘officer of the court’
    • Duty to Court and Client
    • How to strike the balance?
    • Defence of Queen Caroline - Lord Brougham
    • Alexander Cockburn CJ’s indictment
  • 32.
    • Cockburn CJ:
    • ‘ an advocate should be fearless in carrying out the interests of his client, but … the arms he wields are to be the arms of a warrior and not that of the assassin … It is his duty to the utmost of his power to seek to reconcile the interests he is bound to maintain and the duty it is incumbent upon him to discharge with the eternal and immutable interests of truth and justice.
  • 33.
    • Duty to draw court’s attention to all relevant legal arguments & authorities
    • Not to obstruct cause of justice
    • Conduct business with propriety
    • Uphold integrity of administration of justice
  • 34.
    • Duty to act honestly
    • Duty to honour professional undertakings
    • Subject to summary proceedings for breach
  • 35.
    • Lord Brougham vs Lord Cockburn
    • Groom v Crocker:
      • ‘ carry out his instructions in the matters to which his retainer relates, by all proper means; and consult with his client on all questions of doubt which do not fall within the express or implied discretion left to him; and keep his client informed of such extent as may be reasonably necessary.’
  • 36.
    • Entitlement to professional fees
    • Duty not to overcharge
    • Subject to various regulations:
      • Order 59, Rules of Court
      • Solicitors’ Remuneration Order
    • Depends on complexity, novelty, skill and knowledge required
    • Taxation of costs
  • 37.
    • Negligence
    • Immunity from suit under the rule in Rondel v Worsley
    • Saif Ali v Sydney Mitchell - matters ‘so intimately connected with the conduct of the cause in court that it can be fairly be said to be a preliminary decision affecting the way the cause is to be conducted when it comes to a hearing’
  • 38.
    • Communications between lawyer & client
    • Qualified privilege
    • Defamation in court
    • Absolute privilege
    • Malicious statements - disciplinary proceedings
  • 39.
    • Legal Professional Privilege
    • Client confidentiality
    • Section 128 Evidence Act - non-disclosure of communication made in the course of employment in a ‘lawyer-client’ relationship
    • Position with respect to 3rd parties unclear
    • Certain statutory provisions compelling disclosure do not apply
  • 40.
    • Interference in lawyer-client relationship
    • Professional courtesy - embodied in Practice Directions
    • Comments on professional standing
  • 41.
    • Stakeholder’s funds
    • Monies held on trust or escrow
    • Regulation by Law Society
      • Solicitor’s Accounts Rules
      • Solicitor’s trust Accounts Rules
  • 42.
    • Duty of Care
    • Duty to act properly
    • Duty to pay
  • 43.
    • Advertising and publicity
    • Touting
    • Duty not to use threats
    • Duty not to use offensive language
    • Conflict of interest
  • 44.
    • Need for legal aid
      • Court fees
      • Party’s costs
      • Other party’s costs
    • ‘ Greatest revolution in law’ since World War II – Lord Denning
    • Civil legal aid
    • Criminal legal aid
  • 45.
    • Second Charter 1826
      • Brought in 1494 statute 11 Henry 7 c 22 (An Act to Admit Such Persons as Are Poor to Sue in Forma Pauperis’
    • 1956 – Introduction of the Legal Aid and Advice Ordinance (later Act) – David Marshall’s key initiative.
    • Modelled on 1949 English Act & 1943 New South Wales systems
    • Establishment of Legal Aid Bureau – 1 Jul 1958
    • Originally intended as scheme for criminal legal aid but deemed contrary to public policy
  • 46.
    • Combination of compensated private counsel and salaried staff attorney.
    • Bureau – headed by Director appointed by Minister for Law. Currently staffed by about 10 lawyers – all members of Singapore Legal Service (handle 65% of cases).
    • All officers have right of appearance in court.
    • Decision to assign legal aid by Legal Aid Board (Director & 2 private practitioners)
    • More than 500 lawyers who have volunteered their services (handle 35% of cases).
  • 47.
    • Legal Advice – ‘oral advice on legal questions’
    • Legal Aid – for court proceedings (governed by First Schedule – types of courts & types of actions) – practically any type of case except for defamation and relator actionss
    • Legal Assistance – eg in drafting of documents, (deeds of separation, wills etc)
  • 48.
    • Singapore citizen or permanent resident
    • Satisfy means test (based on income and assets)
    • Satisfy merits test .
  • 49.
    • Disposable income of no more than $10,000 per annum
    • Disposable capital of no more than $10,000
    • Determined by Gross Income minus:
      • CPF deductions
      • Personal relief ($4,500 per applicant)
      • Rental of housing (dwelling house excluded from test)
      • Deductions for dependents ($3,500 each)
    • Discretion to grant relief for those with sudden physical or mental disability or permanently unable to work.
    • For those above age 60, savings of up to $30,000 exempted.
  • 50.
    • To qualify:
      • No dependants: $18,125 or less
      • 1 dependant: $22,600 or less
      • 2 dependants: $26,876 or less
      • 3 dependants: $31,250 or less
      • 4 dependants: $35,625 or less
  • 51.
    • Must first pass means test
    • Show reasonable grounds for taking, defending, continuing or being a party to a court action
    • Legal opinion
    • Decision by Legal Aid Bureau (at least 2 panel solicitors and Director) meeting once a fortnight.
    • Aided person – no court fees or process server fees. Supplied free of charge with notes of evidence. No liability for costs to other party
    • May be required to pay contribution (depending on income)
    • Out of pocket expenses & costs incurred on his/her behalf
  • 52.
    • Between 1997 & 2005, average number of persons qualifying for legal aid between 5,000 and 7,500.
    • 2006 – 8,766
    • 2007 – 9,022
    • Types of Cases (2003-2007):
      • Matrimonial 54.2%
      • Claims 11.1%
      • Probate 5.3%
      • Property 3.5%
    • Age Distribution:21-30 (15%); 31-40 (27%); 41-50 (31%)
    • Gender Distribution: 56% female; 42% male
  • 53.
    • Operated by the Law Society
    • No restriction on nationality
    • Means test
    • Owners of private property or vehicles not eligible
    • If you have savings or shares exceeding $3,000 (single) or $5,000 (married) – not eligible (excludes SBS, NTUC Fairprice & SingTel shares)
    • disposal assets of not more than $5,000
    • Net monthly income of single applicant not more than $1,300
    • Net monthly income of married applicant not more than $1,700 plus $160 for each dependant.
  • 54.
    • Arms & Explosives Act
    • Arms Offences Act
    • Corrosive & Explosive Substances & Offensive Weapons Act
    • Dangerous Fireworks Act
    • Enlistment Act
    • Explosive Substances Act
    • Films Act
    • Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act
    • Misuse of Drugs Act
    • Penal Code
    • Prevention of Corruption Act
    • Undesirable Publications Act
    • Vandalism Act
    • Sections 65(8) and 140(1)(i) of the Women’s Charter
    • Misuse of Computer Act