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The Executive. Ministry of Law. Competition Commission of Singapore. Primary Sources of Law. Primary Legislation: Acts of Parliament. Electronic Sources for Legislation.

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Selected Legislation including treaties. Common Law. Law Reports. Electronic Sources for Case Law. Subscription Services. Indexes and Digests.


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Legislation and Case Law Indexes. Parliamentary Information. Sources of Parliamentary Proceedings. Singapore Government. Official Publications. The Singapore Legal Profession. The Singapore Academy of Law. Legal Education.


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  • Legal Publishers. The name Singapura comes from the Sanskrit singha "lion" and pura "city".

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    According to the Malay Annals, this name was given by a 14th century Sumatran prince named Sang Nila Utama, who, having landed on the island after a thunderstorm, spotted an auspicious beast on the shore. His chief minister erroneously identified this creature as a 'singha', or lion.

    With the first recorded settlement dating back to the 2nd century AD, the island was an outpost of the Sumatran Srivijaya empire and originally had the Javanese name Temasek 'sea town'. In the third century, a Chinese account gave reference to Singapore as Pu-luo-chung, or "island at the end of a peninsula". Temasek Tumasek rapidly became a significant trading settlement, but declined in the late 14th century. Between the 16th and early 19th century, Singapore island was part of the Sultanate of Johor. During the Malay-Portugal wars in , the settlement was set ablaze by Portuguese troops.

    The Portuguese subsequently held control in that century and the Dutch in the 17th, but throughout most of this time, the island's population consisted mainly of fishermen. Modern day Singapore was founded in by the British. In extending their dominion over India and increasing trade with China in the second half of the 18th century, the British saw a need for a port of call in the South-East Asia region.

    Sir Stamford Raffles, Lieutenant Governor of Bencoolen established a trading station upon landing on 29 January ; on 6 February , he concluded a formal treaty with Sultan Hussein of Johor and the Temenggong, [2] the de jure and defacto rulers of Singapore respectively. In , Singapore's status as a British possession was formalized by two new treaties. The first was the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of March , [3] by which the Dutch withdrew all objections to the British occupation of Singapore.

    The second treaty was made with Sultan Hussein and Temenggong Abdu'r Rahman in August, [4] by which the two owners ceded the island out right to the British in return for increased cash payments and pensions.

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    The Straits Settlements and Japanese Occupation. Singapore, together with Malacca and Penang, the two British settlements in the Malay Peninsula, became the Straits Settlements in , under the control of British India. As a result, British common law applied to Singapore as it did in India, especially the Penal Code which was imported from the penal laws applicable to India [5] during that time.

    By , Singapore had become the centre of government for the three areas. During the ensuing decades, Singapore prospered as a trading post and as the major strategic naval station in the Far East of the British.

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    This was interrupted when Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 February , and was renamed Syonan Light of the South. Japanese law applied during this time. Towards Self-Government - Birth of the Constitution. When the period of military administration ended in March , the Straits Settlements was dissolved. This evolved into the separate Executive and Legislative Councils in July The Governor retained firm control over the colony but there was provision for the election of six members to the Legislative Council by popular vote.

    Hence, Singapore's first election was held on 20 March When the Communist Party of Malaya tried to take over Malaya and Singapore by force, a state of emergency was declared in June The emergency lasted for 12 years. Towards the end of , the British government appointed a commission under Sir George Rendel to review Singapore's constitutional position and make recommendations for change.

    The Rendel proposals were accepted by the government and served as the basis of a new constitution that gave Singapore a greater measure of self-government. The election was the first active political contest in Singapore's history.

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    Marshall resigned on 6 June , after the breakdown of constitutional talks in London on attaining full internal self-government. The March constitutional mission to London led by Lim Yew Hock was successful in negotiating the main terms of a new Singapore Constitution. On 28 May , the Constitutional Agreement was signed in London.

    The British Parliament passed a State of Singapore Act [9] and Singapore's status was changed from a colony to a state. The Singapore Constitution Order-in-Council [10] was enacted and it created the position of a Yang di-Pertuan Negara as the constitutional head of state, a prime minister and a elected member Legislative Assembly. Self-government was attained in In May, that year Singapore's first general election was held to choose 51 representatives to the first fully elected Legislative Assembly.

    The PAP won 43 seats, gleaning Part of Malaysia. The main terms of the merger, agreed on by him and Lee Kuan Yew, were to have central government responsibility for defense, foreign affairs and internal security, but local autonomy in matters pertaining to education and labor. A referendum on the terms of the merger held in Singapore on 1 September showed overwhelming support for the merger.

    Brunei opted out.

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    Singapore officially joined the Federation of Malaysia. The merger proved to be short-lived. Singapore separated from the rest of Malaysia on 9 August , and became a sovereign, democratic and independent nation. Independent Singapore was admitted to the United Nations on 21 September , [15] and became a member of the Common wealth of Nations on 15 October On 22 December , it became a republic, with Yusof bin Ishak as the republic's first President.

    The Constitution of Singapore is the supreme law of Singapore and it is a codified constitution. The Constitution cannot be amended without the support of more than two-thirds of the members of parliament on the second and third readings. The president may seek opinion on constitutional issues from a tribunal consisting of not less than three judges of the Supreme Court.


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    Singaporean courts, like the courts in Australia, cannot offer advisory opinions on the constitutionality of laws. Fundamental Rights. The Constitution entrenches certain fundamental rights, such as the freedom of religion, freedom of speech and equal rights. These individual rights are not absolute but qualified by public interests such as the maintenance of public order, morality and national security.

    Apart from the general protection of racial and religious minorities, the special position of Malays, as the indigenous people of Singapore, is constitutionally mandated. Powers and Functions of Organs of State.