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LAW 7187 Legal Research and Writing - Supreme Court

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1. Explain and elaborate on the various courts that make up the Supreme Court and the State Court. 

2. What are the Primary and Secondary sources of Law? 


Legal Research and Writing Assignment

1: Various Courts under the Supreme Court and the State Court


Court system in a country is considered as one of the potential building blocks in the entire legal procedure. In Singapore, judicial branches of national and state government have the charge to apply as well as speculate the existing legislative framework. The Singapore Judiciary court system has two administrative tiers under the Supreme Court and the State Court. Both are separated from each other and both have independent branches of the executive as well as legislative government regimes (Government of Singapore, 2018). In relation to the legislative scenario, the present study aims to portray the significant areas, wherein these two courts’ concentrate on procedures, relevant legislative applicability, and available court cases.

Issues: Areas of Courts’ Focus

Supreme Court makes up with the High Court and the Court of Appeal, wherein both civil and criminal cases are handled in a legalized manner. The high court deals with those civil and criminal cases, which initially appeal in the State Courts. The High Court hears the cases, wherein offenses are already punishable by more than 10 years imprisonment or death. High Court has the power to reverse the decision made by the State Courts with the assistance of a new trial. The Court of Appeal deals with the cases, which is appealed in the High Court. The Court of Appeal comprises three judges, wherein based on the appeals uneven numbers of judges hear the appeals (Supreme Court, 2018). The role of the Supreme Court has three branches such as Executive, Judiciary and Legislature. The Judiciary branch of Supreme Court has the Chief Justice as the topmost position holder, who oversees the cases under the High Court. The High Court of Singapore has several roles to play such as dealing with the Final Court of appeals. The High Court also assists the cases related to families through the Family Justice Courts based on the Family Justice Act. Besides, the High Court launched the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) and legal frameworks for community services, which helps legal format to deal with the private and public issues (Supreme Court, 2018a).

In Singapore, the State Courts contain both Magistrate Courts, as well as the District Courts, wherein criminal and civil case matters, are considered (Supreme Court, 2018). The State Court helps in matters such as criminal and civil aspects, employment and other claim tribunals (State Courts Singapore, 2017). It also has certain Subordinate Courts including District Court, Magistrate Court, Juvenile Court, Coroners’ Court, and Small Scale Tribunal. The senior district judge has the overall responsibility to deal with the different types of Subordinate Courts. Recently, there are some inclusions taking place under the State Court jurisdiction such as Family Court, Night Court, Community Court, Traffic Court, and Syariah Court especially done for addressing the utmost inconvenience of citizens and the overall state legal system. These courts deal with various areas of criminal and civil legal issues to make the convenient applicability of time and law in a right format (Hawksford, 2018).

Relevant Law/Procedures

To develop the significant implication regarding the case laws and statutes, this section has been highlighted in the available cases of the Supreme Courts and the State Courts. For developing the most convenient discussion, the study has projected recent Supreme Court cases. First case B2C2 Ltd v Quoine Pte Ltd [2018] SGHC (I) 08, which was a commercial legal suit and the charge was a breach of contract between an offerer and an offeree. The Defendant of this case was associated with the currency exchange and was also responsible for helping third parties to trade virtual or fiat currency. The applicant of the case was a UK based company. The company found out that the defendant reversed the trade of the ETH/BTC exchange and the applicant filed a case with the claim of the breach of contract. This was mainly due to the prominent presence of the applicant in South East Asia, the UK and other countries. Moreover, it had initiated an aggressive growth strategy which was being hampered and hence, the company complied with the functioning of the High Court (Supreme Court, 2018b). In order to portray availability and applicability of legislation under the State Court, a criminal case has been described here. Case number SC-904599-2018 Public Prosecutor vs Cha Kok Hwa, wherein the applicant is charged with a criminal offense i.e. illegal drug trafficking. This case is a recent one, which has a hearing on 11th October 2018 under the jurisdiction of the State Court (State Courts Singapore, 2017a).

Application Legal implications

Considering the application of legal implications of the courts of Singapore, the study has highlighted the verdicts of the above-mentioned cases of the High Court and the State Court. The first case under the Supreme Court, i.e. B2C2 Ltd v Quoine Pte Ltd [2018] SGHC (I) 08 was a transfer case, which later transferred to the Singapore International Commercial Court for the further security of costs. The second case under the State Court, SC-904599-2018 Public Prosecutor vs Cha Kok Hwa, the applicant was charged with “Section 44(1)(a) Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (Cap 65A, Rev Ed 2000) r/w Section 109 Penal Code (Cap 224, Rev Ed 2008) r/w Section 108B Penal Code (Cap 224, Rev Ed 2008) p/u Section 44(5)(a) Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (Cap 65A, Rev Ed 2000) & others”. However, these claims are still not verified by the State Court (State Courts Singapore, 2017a).


Based on the overall discussion, it is concluded that the Supreme Court and the State Court are the prime bases of the legal system of Singapore. To understand the step by step development of these courts under the legislative format of Singapore, the study has portrayed a variety of specified segregation of subordinate courts, which have a legal dependence on the Supreme Court and the State Court. The Supreme Court of Singapore is considered to be the highest level of legal implications according to the jurisdiction of the projected legal framework. Considering the legal statutes, it is also evaluated that both the courts deal with civil and criminal cases. To project the variance of cases, the study described two cases based on commercial (civil) and criminal grounds under the Supreme Court and the State Court respectively.

2: The Primary and Secondary Sources of Law


The legal system is a developmental step for the individual nation. The resources of legislative formats are also important for constructing a distinctive set of statutes for diversified reasons. In Singapore, the legal authorities are the building blocks of primary and secondary sources of law. Lawmaking bodies in Singapore are responsible for developing the primary and secondary resources (Sim, 2007; Bast & Hawkins, 2002). Understanding these aspects, the present discussion aims to highlight the primary and secondary resources of law in Singapore along with the possible areas of work, and effective applications sites in underneath subheadings.

Issues: Areas of Focus

Primary Source of Law. Primary sources of Singaporean law are dependent on law-making bodies, wherein legislation and case law are its two distinctive features. Based on the existing legal study findings by Su-Lin (2018), it has been observed that statutes, subsidiary legislation, and quasi-legislation are three sub-divisions of existing law system. Besides, primary law source also has a subdivision of case law, which involves with the Singapore courts. To develop an in-depth understanding regarding these subdivisions of primary resources law, the study has considered Sim (2007)’s study, wherein the primary resources of Singaporean legislative format were presented as an associated concern of the Acts of Parliament, which included online Statutes of Singapore. It is further considered as a joint initiative that is a collaborative effort of the Managing for Excellence Office, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, and Ministry of Finance. It is an effective tool, which has a significant transparency for the general public, through which they can access the entire text consolidation of enforced Acts of Parliament. It is also known as the Versioned Legislation Database (VLDB), which deals with subsidiary legislation and official databases of bills. Moreover, Electronic Sources of Legislation is another subpart of the primary source, which includes the history of Singapore statutes, revised editions of Acts and different Legal Workbench databases including case laws and treaties. Besides, Common Law, selected legislation and treaties such as Manpower legislation, Arbitration Rules, ‘Internet Policy and Regulatory Framework’, Free Trade Agreements, ‘Monetary Authority of Singapore - Singapore Code on Take-overs and Mergers’, Tax Treaties, and ‘Supreme Court of Judicature Act’ among others are included as its primary resources (Sim, 2007).

Secondary Sources of Law. The legal journals for studies including the University of Malaya Law Review, predecessor journals and the Malaya Law Review are considered as the secondary law sources in Singapore. Different case Law Indexes, Law reports, ‘Electronic Sources of case laws’, citation and subscription services are considered as the part of secondary legal resources (Sim, 2007). Fundamentally, secondary law resources are considered as the background sources, based on which individual legal professionals and other willing people are capable to gain knowledge regarding the Singaporean legal procedures, case laws, statutes, and their effective applications. Besides, the background resources are also effective for the explanation of legal implications. Moreover, the resources are helping in the interpretation and analysis of the legal aspects of Singapore (LaFleur, 2018).

Procedures: The Work Process

The working processes of legal sources are different from each other. To understand the significant procedures of individual sources as per their segregation of primary and secondary resource, these are further discussed in the subsections below:

Primary Law Sources’ Work Processes. Based on the aforementioned discussion, it is clear that the sources are associated with the legislation and case laws. Generally, the resources have significant official work, which includes court decisions, tribunals, ‘application of legal statutes’, and regulations for maintaining the legal framework in Singapore (LaFleur, 2018).

Secondary Law Sources. In the context of the working procedures of secondary resources of Singaporean law, it has been evaluated that there are certain databases of legal journals, which can be considered as the base of the legal sources. These have been developing a comprehensive understanding of the legal background of Singapore and aiding the process of interpretation, analysis, and explanations. Journal databases such as LawNet, Kluwer Competition Law, Lexis Singapore, Westlaw, ‘Index to Legal Periodicals’ and Books among others are secondary resources of Singaporean law (Singapore Management University, 2018).


Application of legal sources is associated with the relevance of the identified sources along with related accessibility. In the context of the primary resources of the Singaporean law, the study highlighted parliamentary legislation, Bill amendments, case laws, and statutes. The applications of primary legal resources are highlighted in authority of revised editions of Singaporean legislation. Moreover, the Legal Workbench database as the primary source of Singaporean law has been applied in areas such as ‘Rev. Ed. of Singapore Statutes’, ‘Rev. Ed. of Singapore Subsidiary legislation’, ‘Bills and Acts supplements’, ‘Heritage Law Reports’, ‘Parliament reports 1977-‘, ‘Damages for Personal Injuries Database’, ‘Singapore Treaties Database’, and ‘Singapore Law Reports 1965-’ among others (Sim, 2007). According to Su-Lin (2018)’s study, the application of legislature confronted by the lawmaking bodies involves the President and the Parliament of Singapore. The applications of Statutes are accomplished through the legal officers of the Attorney-General’s Chambers. Thereafter, Bills are passed and accordingly, it becomes a law through the assistance of Parliament and the President of Singapore.

In the context of the application of secondary resources of Singaporean law, the study needs to concentrate on the databases such as LawNet, which offers online accessibility of legislative frameworks, legal materials, parliamentary reports, as well as treaties. Through the accessibility of law reports, professionals and students of law can start their research (National University of Singapore, 2018; Singapore Management University, 2018). Kluwer Competition Law is another database, which is considered a secondary legal resource, which has a great collection of legal books and journals. These resources are capable of providing comprehensive information on jurisdiction and current knowledge regarding new legal areas (Singapore Management University, 2018).


Based on the overall discussion on primary and secondary resources of Singaporean law, it is concluded that there is a wide variety of legal materials, which includes a legal form of constitutes, court cases, administrative rules, and regulations. These resources further help individuals to gain knowledge on Singaporean legislation, their history, and implications. Both the primary and secondary resources of law are identified as the basic necessity in the legal system, which contributes to the initial development of the legal application by understanding significant legal regimes.


Bast, C. & Hawkins, M. (2002). Instructor’s manual to accompany foundations of legal research and writing, 2E. US: Delmar.

Government of Singapore. (2018). Our legal system. Retrieved October 9, 2018, from https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/our-legal-system.html

Hawksford. (2018). Introduction to Singapore's legal system. Retrieved October 7, 2018, from https://www.guidemesingapore.com/business-guides/immigration/get-to-know-singapore/introduction-to-singapores-legal-system

LaFleur, L. (2018). International law and organizations: Primary and secondary sources. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://researchguides.library.tufts.edu/c.php?g=248934&p=1657934

National University of Singapore. (2018). Law in Singapore: Legislation & treaties. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://libguides.nus.edu.sg/Singaporelaw/legislation

Sim, T.Y.S. (2007). A guide to the Singapore legal system and legal research. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Singapore.html

Singapore Management University. (2018). Secondary Sources. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://researchguides.smu.edu.sg/c.php?g=741990&p=5308055

State Courts Singapore. (2017). If you are. Retrieved October 7, 2018, from https://www.statecourts.gov.sg/Pages/default.aspx

State Courts Singapore. (2017a). Criminal trials. Retrieved October 9, 2018, from https://www.statecourts.gov.sg/HearingList/Pages/Criminal-trials.aspx

Su-Lin, L. (2018). Singapore Legislation. C J Koh Law Library, 2-22.

Supreme Court. (2018). Singapore judicial system. Retrieved October 7, 2018, from https://www.supremecourt.gov.sg/about-us/the-supreme-court/singapore-judicial-system

Supreme Court. (2018a). Role of Supreme Court. Retrieved October 7, 2018, from https://www.supremecourt.gov.sg/about-us/the-supreme-court/role-of-supreme-court

Supreme Court. (2018b). B2C2 Ltd v Quoine Pte Ltd [2018] SGHC (I) 08. Retrieved October 9, 2018, from https://www.supremecourt.gov.sg/news/case-summaries/b2c2-ltd-v-quoine-pte-ltd-2018-sghc-i-08


Bodleian Libraries. (2015). Singapore legislation. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://libguides.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/c.php?g=423097&p=2889028

Lye, L. H. (2013). Environmental Law in Singapore. Singapore: Kluwer Law International.

Singapore Law Watch. (2018). Ch. 05 Singapore and international law. Retrieved October 11, 2018, from https://www.singaporelawwatch.sg/About-Singapore-Law/Overview/ch-05-singapore-and-international-law

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