Reconsidering Ouster Clauses in Singapore Administrative Law

Posted: 3 Jun 2020 Last revised: 22 Jun 2020

See all articles by Kenny Chng

Kenny Chng

Singapore Management University

Date Written: August 31, 2019


Following closely in the wake of R. (on the application of Privacy International) v Investigatory Powers Tribunal and others [2019] UKSC 22; [2019] 2 W.L.R. 1219, the Singapore Court of Appeal issued a decision which holds potentially far-reaching implications for ouster clauses in Singapore law. While not engaging Privacy International directly, the court’s decision in Nagaenthran a/l K Dharmalingam v Public Prosecutor [2019] SGCA 37; [2019] 2 S.L.R. 216 echoed Lord Carnwath’s emphasis, in Privacy International, on the resilience of the supervisory jurisdiction in the face of legislative ouster clauses, albeit on justificatory grounds specific to the Singapore context. In so doing, the decision provided an important signal of the judicial attitude in Singapore towards legislative ouster clauses. Yet, the court’s assiduous avoidance of a direct engagement with ouster clause doctrine represents a missed opportunity to clarify the law in Singapore, which has thus far remained substantially shaped by the framework provided by Anisminic Ltd v Foreign Compensation Commission [1969] 2 A.C. 147; [1969] 1 All E.R. 208.

Suggested Citation

Chng, Kenny, Reconsidering Ouster Clauses in Singapore Administrative Law (August 31, 2019). (2020) 136 Law Quarterly Review 40, Singapore Management University School of Law Research Paper No. 3/2020, Available at SSRN:

Kenny Chng (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University ( email )

Li Ka Shing Library
70 Stamford Road
Singapore 178901, 178899

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