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Legal Rights in Singapore

Legal Rights in Singapore

Singapore is known to have one of the most rigorous and robust criminal investigation processes. As such, being fully aware of your legal rights in Singapore can prove to be vital as a step in the wrong direction can lead to a potentially detrimental consequence. Here are some of the legal rights that you may wish to take note of:

Right to be informed of the grounds of arrest

In Singapore, when a person is arrested he shall be informed as soon as may be of the grounds of his arrest and shall be allowed to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice. It is also sufficient that the arrested person is informed in general terms of what power he is being arrested under, and the grounds for his arrest. There is no need for him to be told in detail or in strict legal terminology.

How long will the investigation take?

There is no exact time limit restricting the prosecuting authorities. Once the prosecuting authorities feel that sufficient evidence is gathered against the accused, they will proceed to submit the results of the investigations to the Public Prosecutor. The matter will then be carefully considered by the Public Prosecutor who will come to a decision as to whether formal charges should be tendered against the accused.

Right to Legal Representation

Contrary to popular belief, the right to “consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of choice” in Singapore does not arise immediately upon arrest. Instead, the right only arises within a reasonable time after arrest as to allow a balance between the duty of the police to protect the public and to be able to carry out effective investigations.

Self-Incrimination

When under investigations, an accused examined need not say anything that may expose him to a criminal charge, penalty, or forfeiture.

Interpreter

If the accused chooses, or is more comfortable speaking and understanding a foreign language/dialect, the court is duty bound to arrange for a certified interpreter. This is to ensure that the accused is able to substantially understand the evidence given.

Right to Bail

Certain offences in Singapore accord the accused to a right to bail. For such offences, bail must be offered as of right and the court has no discretion to refuse bail. For more detailed information regarding bail, please click here!