Differences between Criminal and Civil law in Singapore

by | Feb 6, 2024 | Resources

What are the differences between Criminal Law and Civil Law in Singapore?

The Common Law, acquired from the British, is a significant part of the Singapore law and legal system. Singapore’s precedent-based law is characterised by the practice of legal precedent. As such, the law is made by decisions handed down by the courts, where judges are not only required to apply the ratio decidendi (or the operative reason for the decision) of the higher court within the same hierarchy but also to consider mitigation pleas when assessing the circumstances of a case. This means that in Singapore, the Ratio Decidendi found in the decisions of the Singapore Court of Appeal are strictly binding on the Singapore High Court, the District Court, and the Magistrates’ Court, though the courts may adjust the severity of sentences based on mitigation pleas. Significant portions of Singapore law, particularly contract law, equity and trust law, property law, and tort law, are largely judge-made, though certain aspects have now been modified slightly by statutes.

Singapore’s Criminal Law is to a great extent statutory in nature and can be followed to the thorough Penal Code. The Penal Code decides to clarify what establishes every one of the offences recorded in its 24 parts and the base just as greatest discipline for the equivalent. The Penal Code was initially founded on Indian Law. This was changed and supplanted with the Criminal Procedure Code which depends on the law relating to criminal systems in England. Every single criminal offence under the Penal Code or different resolutions are researched and took a stab at as indicated by the Criminal Procedure Code. Criminal Proceedings in Singapore are heard in the High Court and Court of Appeal.

The High Court manages:

  • Trial of criminal offences in its unique locale
  • Appeals from the choices of the Subordinate Courts
  • Revision in criminal procedures and matters managed by the Subordinate Courts and
  • Points of law saved for the High Court’s thought by method for unique cases presented by the Subordinate Courts

The Court of Appeal manages:

  • Appeals against choices made by the High Court in the activity of its unique criminal locale and
  • Points of law held for its thought from criminal issues heard by the High Court in its unique, redrafting or revisionary ward.

Criminal cases can likewise be attempted at the Criminal Mentions Court. A denounced individual is created at a Criminal Mentions Court when the indictment is prepared to officially charge that person. A criminal must be charged inside 48 hours after their capture and remand. There are two Criminal Mentions Courts, one to manage District Arrest Cases (DACs) and the other with Magistrates Arrest Cases (MACs).

Offences that can be attempted at the High Court fall under the class of capital (for example deserving of death) and non-capital cases. The Court is managed by a Judge. The indicting officials from the significant implementation and government offices are additionally present. A charge (specifics of the offence) is made upon the individual/people who submit the offence, who can either decide to concede, guarantee preliminary or apply for a deferment to another date. Criminal Trials normally include pre-preliminary meetings. The court effectively screens the advancement of the examinations and different advances taken in anticipation of the preliminary. These gatherings are not open to open. Starter requests – to decide if there is adequate proof to submit the blamed for preliminary in High Court – are available to open. The preliminary legitimate is additionally open to open as a rule. In the event that the charged is to be attempted, he will be kept in jail until the date of preliminary. Bail is accessible just at the watchfulness of the High Court.

When all is said in done, the High Court manages matters where the estimation of the topic of the case surpasses $250,000. The District Court manages any case for which the sum in the contest doesn’t surpass $250,000 and the Magistrates’ Court where the sum in question doesn’t surpass $60,000. The Small Claims Tribunal manages any case not surpassing $10,000 (or up to $20,000 where the two gatherings to the question concur) over a debate emerging from the agreement for the clearance of products or arrangement of administrations, or where there is harm to property (with the exception of on account of mishaps including an engine vehicle).

If you’re faced with criminal charges and need legal representation, speak to our team of criminal lawyers in Singapore today. During the 30-minute consultation, we’ll provide clarity on your case and inform you of the preliminary steps to take.

About the author

About the author

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan is the Founder and Managing Director of Tembusu Law. He is also the founder of LawGuide Singapore, a prominent legaltech startup which successfully created and launched Singapore’s first legal chatbot in 2017.