Prosecutorial Discretion and the Legal Limits in Singapore

Posted: 21 Aug 2013 Last revised: 26 Aug 2013

See all articles by Gary K. Y. Chan

Gary K. Y. Chan

Singapore Management University - School of Law; Singapore Management University - Centre for AI & Data Governance

Date Written: March 1, 2013

Abstract

Article 35 (8) of the Singapore Constitution states that the Attorney-General, as the Public Prosecutor, shall have the power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for any offence. This prosecutorial discretion, though extremely wide, is not an unfettered one and must not be exercised in bad faith or in breach of constitutional rights. With respect to the equality provision in the Constitution, the Prosecution has to give unbiased consideration to all potential accused persons and avoid any irrelevant considerations. The paper considers whether the presumption of the constitutionality of prosecutorial decisions and the onerous burden on the accused person to displace the presumption should be re-examined. Further, the Prosecutor should consider disclosing the reasons underlying the prosecutorial decisions as far as possible subject to minimising potential risks and publishing guidelines on prosecutorial decision-making.

Keywords: Prosecutorial Discretion, Judiciary, Constitution, Equality

Suggested Citation

Chan, Gary Kok Yew, Prosecutorial Discretion and the Legal Limits in Singapore (March 1, 2013). Singapore Academy of Law Journal, 2013, Singapore Management University School of Law Research Paper No. 25/2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2312233

Gary Kok Yew Chan (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University - School of Law ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.law.smu.edu.sg

Singapore Management University - Centre for AI & Data Governance ( email )

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