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Witness Preparation before Trial: What the Rules of Ethics Do Not Say

Jeffrey Pinsler SC

(2018) 30 SAcLJ 978

Singapore’s rules of ethics do not expressly address witness preparation before trial. Recent judgments of the High Court and Court of Appeal and a disciplinary case decided this year take up the issue of what lawyers may do and not do in preparing witnesses for trial and, in particular, whether witnesses may be prepared as a group. This article examines these cases, the former ethics rules (which applied to the disciplinary case just mentioned) and the current ethics rules. It will be shown that the statutory law remains unsatisfactory in this critical area of ethical practice and that appropriate rules governing witness preparation must be introduced to the current ethics rules.