Rethinking the Presumption of Constitutionality

Jaclyn L Neo (ed), Constitutional Interpretation in Singapore: Theory and Practice (Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge) (ISBN 978-1-138-91448-3), Chapter 6, pp. 139-158, 2016

Singapore Management University School of Law Research Paper No. 16/2016

Posted: 10 Aug 2016 Last revised: 20 Oct 2016

Jack Tsen-Ta Lee

Singapore Management University - School of Law

Date Written: July 1, 2016

Abstract

Singapore courts apply a “strong presumption of constitutional validity” when considering if legislative or executive actions infringe the Constitution. They have also stated that the related doctrine of omnia praesumuntur rite esse acta – all things are presumed to have been done rightly – should be applied to the acts of persons holding high constitutional office such as the President, the Attorney-General, Cabinet members and judges. The presumption of constitutionality casts a heavy onus on an applicant for judicial review to make arguments or adduce evidence sufficient to require the government to justify the constitutionality of the action. This chapter traces the origin of the presumption and examines whether its application in constitutional cases is justified.

Keywords: constitutional law, presumption of constitutionality, Singapore law

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

Lee, Jack Tsen-Ta, Rethinking the Presumption of Constitutionality (July 1, 2016). Jaclyn L Neo (ed), Constitutional Interpretation in Singapore: Theory and Practice (Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge) (ISBN 978-1-138-91448-3), Chapter 6, pp. 139-158, 2016; Singapore Management University School of Law Research Paper No. 16/2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2818465

Jack Tsen-Ta Lee (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University - School of Law ( email )

55 Armenian Street
Singapore, 179943
Singapore

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

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