Thursday, October 20, 2011

Empower Law Society if Government open

According to one news media, the Honourable Minister for Law Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam has recently remarked, "We don't, as the government, have a monopoly on ideas - nor expertise, nor resources in every field. And there's a clear recognition that to achieve the best possible policies for Singapore, we have to tap on the private sector and volunteers. This ensures a range of perspectives and diverse, and often better ideas."

While I accept the Minister means well, I approach his views with some measure of caution. If this is something the Minister is really serious about, he can do two things immediately in an area that comes under his direct purview.

First, section 48 (1) (c) of the Legal Profession Act (LPA) allows the minister to appoint 3 advocates and solicitors to sit on the Council of the Law Society of Singapore. A former President of the Law Society has expressed concern about this power. The minister can return or delegate this power to the general membership of the Law Society or the Council.

Second, section 38(1)(c) of the LPA restricts the Law Society from "commenting on matters affecting legislation not submitted to it". The Law Society has sought an amendment of this provision in the past but it fell on deaf ears. The Minister can repeal this provision in order to better reach out to the private sector and to ensure diversity in perspective and ideas.

If the government has no monopoly on ideas, the minister can start by loosening his somewhat monolithic control of the legal profession.

Dharmendra Yadav

Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this? Feel free to react below or leave a comment.


Anonymous said...

The misniter wayang, talk cock sing song to make you all worked up with hope but the sad reality is with control comes power. The MIW wants to retain power with less votes and seats going to the opposition and will not cede control unless wrench forcefully from them. Just watch out how they label every serious opponent a terrorist when they start losing their grip.


cruisedenning said...

i think the govt may say, if one has the conviction and seriousness, the fact that the provisions still stand as valid laws should be no barrier to one from voicing his views.

law society of singapore said...

Thank you. I appreciate your post.