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​Government reviewing legal procedures for parties in dispute

04 Mar 2019 < 1 min read

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The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) is reviewing recommendations for parties in dispute to seek an amicable resolution before heading to court.

Parties in dispute could also be referred to mediation or private settlements before legal proceedings if the court finds that they have not considered alternative dispute resolutions.

These changes were announced during the third day of Committee of Supply debate, on 4 March 2019.

Senior Minister of State for Law Mr Edwin Tong said the Ministry will also be making changes to the Legal Aid and Advice Act to simplify the means test and provide greater flexibility to grant aid and improve the administration of legal aid. He said the number of accused persons assisted annually has risen after the Government introduced direct funding in 2015. Lawyers under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme – which provides assistance to those who cannot afford a lawyer – assisted in almost 1,600 cases in 2018, almost four times the number of cases before 2015, he added.

Mr Tong also shared that there were more than 500 applications for Protection Orders were made under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) in the last four years. Of these, 213 Protection Orders and 193 Expedited Protection Orders were granted, including applications by victims of workplace harassment.

MinLaw’s other initiatives include enhancing the Moments of Life Digital Portal which will also include features such as step-by-step guidance on making wills and settling post-death estate matters, and also the skills development framework for the intellectual property sector, which will provide comprehensive information on career options, skills needed for job roles and also relevant training programme in the sector.

Mr Tong added, “All these measures work towards ensuring that our legal system meet the needs of all- whether it be the man on the street or business – who call Singapore home.”