Singapore Law - 50 Years in the Making

The development of Singapore law has tracked the development of Singapore’s own nation-building efforts. Singapore’s laws reflect a diversity of legal and cultural heritages and there has been a conscious effort, particularly after the 1990s, to develop its own laws and legal institutions. These efforts have now paved the way for Singapore law to be promoted in international transactions and law reforms in other jurisdictions. This book assesses to what extent these ambitions have been achieved, how they are reflected in the jurisprudence of Singapore courts, and to predict the next phase in the development of Singapore law. It analyses all reported Singapore decisions since independence to December 2013. It considers the extent to which Singapore courts have developed a local jurisprudence and the particular subject areas in which such development is the strongest. It also examines the extent Singapore courts have relied on foreign law.

Year of Publication: 2015

Page Extent: 960 pages 

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Singapore Law



Over 40 years of hitherto unseen empirical data and analysis of Singapore’s court judgments.

A chapter written on the history and significance of the Application of English Law Act by its chief architect, the former Chief Justice (and then Attorney-General) Chan Sek Keong.

Expert analysis on the development of Singapore in key areas of commercial and criminal law by academics and practitioners in their fields.


General Editors
Goh Yihan
Paul Tan
Chan Sek Keong
Darius Chan
Cheah Wui Ling
Chen Siyuan
Eunice Chua
Goh Yihan
Lau Kwan Ho
Lionel Leo
Melissa Mak
Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir
Peh Aik Hin
Nicholas Poon
Paul Tan
Yip Man


Chapter 1 An Empirical Study on the Development of Singapore Law (by Goh Yihan & Paul Tan)
Chapter 2 Application of English Law Act 1993 – A New Charter of Justice (by Chan Sek Keong)
Chapter 3 The Development of Local Jurisprudence
(by Goh Yihan & Paul Tan)
Chapter 4 A Study in Separate Judgments
(by Lau Kwan Ho)
Chapter 5 Administrative and Constitutional Law – An Expository Approach to Public Law Adjudication: The Singapore Judiciary’s Evolving Jurisprudence
(by Cheah Wui Ling)
Chapter 6 Civil Procedure – Autochthony for Efficiency and Justice (by Eunice Chua & Lionel Leo)
Chapter 7 Evidence and Criminal Procedure: Gradual Development Towards Clarity in a Maze of Statutory Enactments (by Chen Siyuan)
Chapter 8 Criminal Law: It’s a Not-So-Authochronous-World After All? Striking the Right Balance between Local Circumstances and Increasingly-Convergent International Norms (by Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir)
Chapter 9 Family Law: Local in Law, Guided By Judicial Discretion (by Chen Siyuan)
Chapter 10 Contract Law: A Rationalisation Process Towards Coherence and Fairness (by Peh Aik Hin)
Chapter 11 The Law of Torts: Dominant Role of Land Scarcity (by Goh Yihan)
Chapter 12 Trusts and Equity: Dreaming and Building a Singapore Equitable Jurisdiction (by Yip Man)
Chapter 13 Land Law: Establishing Principles in Discrete Aspects (by Melissa Mak)
Chapter 14 International Arbitration: Internationalist Outlook Leading the Development of Local Jurisprudence (by Darius Chan & Paul Tan)
Chapter 15 Conflict of Laws
(by Nicholas Poon)
Chapter 16 The Next Leap Forward: The Spread of Singapore Law (by Goh Yihan & Paul Tan)

From the Foreword
The introductory and overview chapters … are superb. They … present us with a holistic picture of the development of Singapore law in all its various facets during the decades since independence. [The] statistics and graphs … tell a story – illustrating as well as illuminating the development of Singapore law in ways that were not possible before. But this is not all. … There are specific chapters on important aspects of Singapore law (this not only includes the major areas of law (both domestic as well as international) but also chapters on the genesis of the Application of English Law Act 1993 and a study of separate judgments in the local context). They not only deal with the raw empirical data in the specific area of law being considered but … with the qualitative development of the area of law concerned. This is a superb integration of both general and particular – providing the reader with a holistic view of the development of both the Singapore legal system as a whole as well as the development of specific areas which, together, constitute more than the sum of its parts.

The Honourable Attorney-General V K Rajah
The Honourable Judge of Appeal Justice Andrew Phang
  • Singapore Law - 50 Years in the Making
  • 978-981-09-3599-3
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