Advancing Constitutional Justice in Singapore: Enhancing Access and Standing in Judicial Review Cases
Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, Mar 17, pp 53-76
24 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2018
Date Written: March 31, 2017
The rules on standing in Singapore have traditionally restricted the commencement of judicial review proceedings by anyone other than applicants directly and individually affected by either a legislative provision or executive action: there has been little scope for what is known as ‘public interest litigation’ (in all its various forms). This had been the landscape of public law adjudication in Singapore until recently. However, in the past ﬁve years, the courts have had to consider challenges by applicants in the absence of such a direct interest. Thus far, the discussion on these cases has focused on broader issues of constitutional interpretation and what the cases indicate about constitutionalism in Singapore. There has been little discussion on issues of standing and what this implies about the role of public law adjudication in Singapore. This article will show how, while explicitly rejecting the possibility of public interest litigation, the courts have provided some scope for developing a more circumscribed form of ‘representative’ standing in serious cases of illegality or unconstitutionality with built-in control features to prevent actions by ‘busybodies’ and ensure that the court does not become involved in free-standing political debate. It will propose how these developments may evolve over time, particularly, in a way that maintains the controls the courts have introduced thus far.
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