Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

3-2013

Abstract

This paper critically analyses the decision of the Singapore Court of Appeal in Yong Vui Kong v Attorney-General in relation to presidential pardon. Two questions were central to the case. First, is the President bound by the decision of the Cabinet in pardon-related matters? Secondly, are decisions regarding pardon—whether made by the Cabinet or President—subject to judicial review? In relation to the first question, the Court based its reasoning on Singapore's political system being a Westminster-inspired model and, therefore, that the President generally undertakes the same functions as the British monarch. However, this paper identifies the unique features of Singapore's presidency, and argues that the British model does not act as an adequate starting point with regard to the issue of discretion. With regard to the second question, the Court of Appeal held that decisions on pardons are subject to judicial review not on their merits, but only in relation to procedural inadequacies. The paper, however, suggests that the Court's conclusions are inconsistent: either decisions to grant or refuse pardons can be reviewed on their merits, or the suggested grounds of review must be revised.

Keywords

Singapore, President, pardon, discretion, judicial review

Discipline

Asian Studies | Common Law | President/Executive Department

Research Areas

Law, Society and Governance

Publication

Common Law World Review

Volume

42

Issue

1

First Page

48

Last Page

60

ISSN

1473-7795

Identifier

10.1350/clwr.2013.42.1.0244

Publisher

SAGE

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1350/clwr.2013.42.1.0244

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