Your Authoritative Source on Singapore Law

Localising Administrative Law in Singapore: Embracing Inter-branch Equality

Swati Jhaveri

(2017) 29 SAcLJ 828

This article considers two main ways in which Singapore courts have localised administrative law, departing from its English law roots. First, it will look at differences in the balance struck by courts between themselves and the Executive in the review of administrative action. Traditional analyses of administrative law in common law jurisdictions tend to rationalise a particular hierarchy between courts and the Executive based on factors like the relative institutional expertise of the institutions and the relative political and democratic credentials of the two branches. This article argues for a third possible analysis for Singapore: one that is premised not on the supremacy of either branch but, instead, on the idea of co-equality. Secondly, the article will look at how this co-equality is manifested in the court’s approach to reviewing the substantive aspects of administrative decision-making. Through this analysis of the localisation of Singapore administrative law, the article ultimately seeks to contribute to a richer and more robust understanding of “common law” administrative law systems.