Summary of Speech by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon at Opening of Legal Year 2016

Summary of Speech by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Opening of the Legal Year 2016 (11 January 2016)


  • SAL survey reveals that parties choose Singapore law because of the stability of our legal system and the certainty of our commercial laws: [15].
  • The Singapore International Commercial Court presently has 2 international commercial cases. CJ believes SICC will open new opportunities for our lawyers: [16]-[19].
  • Asian Business Law Institute (“ABLI”) will be launched next week to promote law as a promoter of growth of transnational commercial activity: [20]-[21].
  • Aedit Abdullah JC and Kannan Ramesh JC are working with judges from some like-minded commercial jurisdictions to build a network connecting the courts of key commercial centres in an effort to promote court-to-courts arrangements in cross-border matters, e.g. insolvency: [22]-[25].
  • The Global Pound Conference, will be held in Singapore on 17 and 18 March: [26]-[27].

Family Justice

  • An International Advisory Council will be established to bring together a group of internationally renowned and respected family judges as well as academics and experts in family law and social science. The Council will discuss the latest ideas in family law and practice, study international best practices and imagine solutions and measures that will situate the FJC at the forefront of the dispensation of family justice: [36].

Criminal Justice

  • There are talks to establish a Criminal Procedure Rules Committee which will be empowered to make rules that govern the conduct of criminal proceedings: [35].

Civil Justice

  • The Civil Justice Commission chaired by Justice Tay Yong Kwang may be ready to produce a report of its recommendations to reform civil litigation framework, reduce costs and enhance justice: [38].
  • The District Court’s civil monetary jurisdictional limit of S$250,000 will be reviewed: [39(a)].
  • The present monetary jurisdiction of S$10,000 of the Small Claims Tribunal will be reviewed: [39(b)].

Intellectual Property

  • An IP Dispute Resolution Committee chaired by Justice George Wei has been working since April 2015 to enhance access to the IP dispute resolution system, and to position Singapore as a choice venue for the resolution of IP disputes in Asia: [40]-[42].

Medical Litigation

  • Under civil litigation reform, 3 measures will be adopted.
  • First, promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), in particular mediation, as a primary step in resolving disputes relating to medical malpractice: [43(a)].
  • Second, shifting from the present adversarial model to a more judge-led process: [43(b)].
  • Third, judges may be assisted by medical assessors in future: [43(c)].

Pursuing Exccellent Without Compromise

  • SAL will develop various programmes to develop a legal competency framework: [48].
  • A committee led by Justice Quentin Loh as Chairman of the Professional Affairs Committee of the SAL will develop an accreditation structure in selected areas of specialisation, starting with construction lawyers: [49].
  • A Professional Conduct Council was established on 18 November 2015 to oversee matters relating to professional practice, etiquette, conduct and discipline: [52].
  • For the judiciary, the Singapore Judicial College has had a good first year. In the coming year, it will focus on enhancing judicial case management skills: [56].
  • Moving into the future, the judiciary is working with the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) to prepare for the future: [59].

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