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- Legal System
The legal system of Singapore derives from English Common Law; however it has steered in its own unique direction since independence. The constitution provides for the independence of the judiciary. The country’s judiciary comprises two levels. The higher tier, the Supreme Court, is made up of the Court of Appeal and the High Court, with the Court of Appeal being the highest appellate court in the country. The lower tier courts include magistrates’ courts, juvenile courts, family courts and coroner’s court. The President of the Republic, with input from the Prime Minister, appoints the Chief Justice along with other Supreme Court judges.
There are 821 law firms and around 3800 lawyers in Singapore (2011). Within this the Law Society of Singapore lists eight locum solicitors and over 90 foreign law firms. Legal representatives in the country are a fusion between advocate and solicitor, even though the oft-used title for individuals within this profession is simply ‘lawyer’. The main institution that trains lawyers is the Faculty of Law at the National University of Singapore; those who attained a bachelor of law degree at the Singapore Management University along with the approved post-graduate training are also eligible to be admitted to the bar. In addition, Singaporean citizens in permanent residence who trained in the UK, the US, Australia and New Zealand are also eligible. The Law Society of Singapore is the representative body for all lawyers in the country.
The Promotion of Singapore Law Committee was set up to try and establish Singapore as a worldwide legal centre. The Law Ministry is supporting this initiative with the Foreign Practitioner Certificate (FPC) introduced in 2011 which makes it straightforward for non-locally qualified foreign lawyers to practice in commercial areas of Singapore law. A further round of applications was invited in 2012 for Qualified Foreign Legal Practice licences. Major firms within the country include Allen & Gledhill, Wong Partnership and Rodyk & Davidson.
Information from the World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013
Legal rights index
Efficiency of legal framework in settling disputes
Efficiency of legal framework in challenging regulations
Property rights (including financial assets)
Intellectual property protection