Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-2018

Abstract

The Singapore Court of Appeal’s decision in Prabagaran a/l Srivijayan v PublicProsecutor represents a substantial development in Singapore’s law on thedoctrine of severability in constitutional review. An examination of Prabagaran reveals rich theoreticalunderpinnings relating to the nature of legislative intent. The case rightly locates the crux of theseverability inquiry in secondary legislative intention, i.e. the legislature’sintention, at the time a statute was enacted, as to what should happen in theevent that part of the statute is later held to be unconstitutional. This approach is preferable to the approachof asking whether excision of unconstitutional parts of the legislation wouldleave behind something which is “substantially a different law”, an approachwhich can lead to the judicial frustration of legislative policy. The search forsecondary legislative intent is not just a matter of speculation; Prabagaran demonstrates how it may beinferred from evidence such as the structure of legislation, legislativehistory, and speeches in Parliament. Inaddition, Prabagaran highlights theimportance of applicants’ identifying precisely the object of a constitutionalchallenge and the exact reliefs sought.

Keywords

Singapore, drug trafficking, severance, severability, constitutional review, death penalty, legislative intent

Discipline

Constitutional Law | Legislation

Research Areas

Public Interest Law, Community and Social Justice

Publication

Statute Law Review

First Page

1

Last Page

20

ISSN

0144-3593

Identifier

10.1093/slr/hmx030

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy E - Oxford Open Option D

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

https://doi.org/10.1093/slr/hmx030

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