Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-2014

Abstract

In many jurisdictions, the rules of evidence can often be instrumental in determining the outcome of a dispute. But to what extent can evidence law be controlled by codification, or is it better to leave its regulation and development to the judges via common law? In an attempt to bridge the gap between the rules of an antiquated evidence statute and the modern realities of practice, Singapore’s Evidence Act was amended in 2012. Certain relevancy provisions were amended to allow greater admissibility of evidence, while new provisions were introduced to act as a check against abuse. However, it will be argued that these amendments have changed the paradigm of the admissibility of evidence under the statute and have also done little to clarify existing ambiguities in the law. This paper explains why and, given the near-complete absence of case law that has interpreted the amendments, offers a few tentative suggestions on possible ways forward. To the extent that Singapore’s Evidence Act was largely modelled after Stephen’s Indian Evidence Act of 1872, Singapore’s 2012 amendments may be of comparative interest to readers in a number of jurisdictions around the world particularly those in Asia such as Bangladesh, Brunei, Burma, Malaysia and Sri Lanka – these countries had adopted the iconic statute to varying degrees – and of course, to India itself. Many of these jurisdictions have also not made major amendments to their evidence legislation, and therefore there may be something to learn ahead of time from Singapore’s experiment.

Keywords

Indian evidence act, exclusionary discretion, relevance and admissibility, Singapore evidence law

Discipline

Asian Studies | Comparative and Foreign Law | Evidence

Research Areas

Law, Society and Governance

Publication

International Commentary on Evidence

Volume

10

Issue

1

First Page

1

Last Page

53

ISSN

1554-4567

Identifier

10.1515/ice-2014-0006

Publisher

De Gruyter

Copyright Owner and License

Author

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1515/ice-2014-0006

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