Guide to the Singapore Legal System and Legal Research

Originally written by Tzi Yong Sam Sim, and first published on the GlobaLex web site in February 2007, this narrative guide to the sources of law and legal system in Singapore provides links to the online sources mentioned. The latest update, from March 2017, is by Chai Yee Xin, a law librarian at Singapore Management University. All previous versions of the guide, including updates in September/October 2007 and July 2008 by Arundhati Ashok Satkalmi, and in January 2013 by Charlotte Gill, may also be accessed.

Intellectual Property Office of Singapore

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) is the government agency that formulates and administers IP laws in Singapore. Legal resources available on its web site include the relevant Acts and Regulations (PDF), reports and hearings, 1999 onwards, Legislation Update, 2014 onwards, forms, current Compendium of Hearings & Mediation Department practice circulars, and annual reports 2013/2014 onwards.

Law Gazette

The Law Gazette is the official monthly journal of the Law Society of Singapore, including digests of recent cases and legislation, with archive October 2017 onwards.

Law Society of Singapore

The Law Society of Singapore is the representative body for all lawyers in Singapore. Its site provides information for and about the legal profession in Singapore, notably a directory covering individual lawyers, law firms, notaries public and commissioners for oaths; practice directions and circulars (in Members’ Library, requiring log-in); calendar of events; annual reports, 2013 onwards; and information on how to qualify and how to set up a legal practice (select “Running Your Practice”). Publications include the Society’s Law Gazette October 2017 onwards.

LawNet [Singapore]

LawNet is essentially a subscription site, provided by the Singapore Academy of Law. However the “Latest Singapore judgments” section has full-text judgments of the Supreme Court, Family & Juvenile Court and State Courts (formerly termed Subordinate Courts) from the last three months: select Free resources > Case law & Decisions. Judgments are simply listed in reverse chronological order. There is also a link to Singapore Statutes on the Attorney-General’s Chambers site (see below).

Parliament of Singapore

The Singapore Parliament’s site includes text of Bills, 2006 onwards, Debates (“Reports”) covering the entire history of the Parliament including its predecessor the Legislative Assembly, and Standing Orders. Other content includes information on the roles of the various officers of Parliament and lists of members of current and previous Parliaments from 1965 (i.e. 1st Parliament) to date.

Singapore Law Watch

Singapore Law Watch is a service offered by the Singapore Academy of Law. Judgments are available from 2000 onwards (for High Court and Court of Appeal) and from January 2018 onwards (for Intellectual Property Office and Personal Data Protection Commission). Legislation published in the last 3 months appears on the site and is initially hyper-linked to the PDF on the e-Gazette site. Commentary on recent cases and other legal news also appears.

Singapore Statutes Online

Provided by the Attorney-General’s Chambers, this site provides full text of all current Singapore Acts and Subsidiary Legislation.

Singapore: IALS Library Guides

This guide from the Library of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (University of London), although to a certain extent relating to the Library’s own holdings, nonetheless provides a useful summary of Singapore constitutional and legal history, sources of law, legislative process and the administration of justice. The coverage of online resources indicates what material is available on subscription-based services as well as providing links to free resources. Much of the advice given on legal research methods is transferable to other other library collections.

Supreme Court, Singapore

The Singapore Supreme Court’s site offers information on the composition of the court, and contacts. The “Practice Directions” section contains the current version of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act and the Rules of Court, consolidated Practice Directions, and Registrar’s circulars 1999 onwards. Judgments, termed “Recent” but in fact extending back to 2000, are available within “Information for Lawyers” in the drop-down menu on the right of the homepage.