Title

Prospective Overruling in Singapore: A Judicial Framework for the Future?

Publication Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

1-2015

Abstract

The doctrine of prospective overruling has been applied in Singapore since the 1990s with a focus on the applicability of nullen crimen nulla poena sine lege embodied in the Singapore Constitution. The underlying objectives are to maintain fairness to the accused persons and to protect their legitimate expectations in criminal cases. The recent landmark decision in Public Prosecutor v Hue An Li has extended the applicability of the doctrine beyond criminal cases to also include civil matters. Though the general default position is that judicial pronouncements apply retrospectively and prospectively, the High Court has indicated that judges may exercise their discretion to limit the retroactive effect of such judicial pronouncements. It has developed a framework comprising a few factors for determining if prospective overruling should be invoked in a given case. The factors include the extent of the entrenchment of the existing rule or principle, the extent of change of the law, the reliance on the existing law and the level of foreseeability of the legal change. This judicial framework points the way forward for prospective overruling in Singapore and, at the same time, allows some flexibility for judicial identification and weighing of the specific factors according to the facts of the case.

Keywords

Singapore, Prospective Overruling, Judicial Precedents, Stare decisis, declaratory theory, Legitimate expectations

Discipline

Administrative Law | Asian Studies | Judges | Jurisprudence | Law

Research Areas

Law, Society and Governance

Publication

Comparing the Prospective Effect of Judicial Rulings Across the Jurisdictions

Editor

Steiner, Eva

First Page

359

Last Page

380

ISBN

9783319161747

Identifier

10.1007/978-3-319-16175-4_16

Publisher

Springer Verlag

City or Country

Heidelberg

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16175-4_16

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