When it comes to Singapore's legal system, you can say that it is English in essence. Singapore law can be divided under certain broad heads like administrative law, equity, property law, trust and tort law and contact law. These are based on the judgments of the courts of the land and some are modified by statutes. Family, Company and Criminal laws are purely statutory in nature.
Law and regulations of Singapore reflect the English system of common law that is continuously being modified. In most cases, the English enactments are followed. The Indian Law interpretations are considered for Penal Code. The Constitution of Singapore is responsible for legal foreign affairs, criminal cases, property and family law. Capital and corporal punishments are awarded in whichever law applicable. It has received accolades for its integrity and strict execution especially in controlling of drug abuse and traffic rule violations.
Law influencers in Singapore
Singapore’s legal system adopted an independent status under the Application of English Law Act of 1993. Only those provisions or statutes mentioned in the schedules of the Act applies in Singapore. The highest court and law regulatory body is the Supreme Court of Appeal, Singapore.
Sources of law in Singapore
The three prominent sources of Singapore law are:
The statutory law that is divided into subsidiary and statutes that are enacted by the parliament of Singapore. In subsidiary legislation, the law is documented by government authorized bodies but not the parliament.
- Case Law or the Judicial Precedents
The common law of jurisdiction is formulated here. Judicial precedents include trust law, contract law, law of property and the tort law.
The criminal law falls under this category. The laws and their penalties for criminal offences find a mention here. The main provisions are related to Misuse of Drugs Act, Vandalism Act and Arms Offences Act.
Singapore Police Force is the primary government agency responsible for civic law enforcement. Community policing is also prevalent here. Military is one of the technologically advanced segments among South Asian countries.
It is interesting to note that Singapore laws are very strict with harsh punishments for smoking and littering in public places. Here we are trying to list some of the offences which are minor in your country but may attract heavy penalties in Singapore.
- Drug trafficking and possession
Singapore has strict laws relating to drug consumption, abuse and trafficking also relating to foreign tourists and non-residents. Possession of drugs can subject you to even capital punishment and death penalty by hanging under law when convicted. The law states that one cannot import or export more than 30 grams of cocaine, 200 g cannabis, 1.2 kg opium and 15 gram of heroin. For consumption of unauthorized drugs in the country has a penalty of up to 10 years.
- Smoking and chewing gum penalties
Authorized cigarette packs have a stamp of SDPC and one is not allowed to bring in cigarette to Singapore from other places unless an open pack. Violation of smoking rules has a penalty up to 500 dollars per pack. Smoking in public areas is strict prohibited. Import of chewing gums from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are not allowed.
- Driving laws
Drunken driving is discouraged and driving under alcoholic influence has both penalties and imprisonment. There is breath tests even at custom checking
- Pirated goods/ pornography laws
Pirated CDs and pornography video circulation is an offense. The fine is up to $1000.
- Company Law
The Companies Act governs the setting up, planning and enforcement of all corporate rights in Singapore.
- Commercial laws
Commercial laws deal with a number of chapters and provisions such as The Law of Contract, Domestic Sale of Goods, International Sale of Goods, The Law of Credit and Security and Intellectual Property Law.
Littering in public places can attract penalties. Failure to flush a public toilet after use may attract very hefty fines. It is illegal to pee in an elevator.
- Murder, abduction and weapons offenses
More serious crimes such as a murder, an abduction and weapons offences may also attract a death penalty.
Homosexual acts, including kissing between men, are illegal in Singapore and penalties include imprisonment.
Pornography is illegal. You should never walk around your home nude as it is considered pornographic.
- Theft & Shoplifting
Shoplifting and theft are considered serious offenses in Singapore.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in Singapore and the traffic police regularly carry out breath tests. Sentences can be up to 10 years in prison.
The importation of pirated copyright material is prohibited. Offenders may be fined and/or jailed.
Crimes that break up racial or ethnic harmony, such as racial insults, may attract severe penalties.
Disclaimer: The data provided here is based on the facts and research using available sources. As the data is made available on "as is" basis and subject to change anytime. This website shall not be liable for any discrepancy found in the data on our site and actual figures.