Singapore Public Defender’s Office May Be Set Up To Provide Criminal Legal Aid

singapore public defender

Singapore Public Defender’s Office to be set up as a department under the Ministry of Law

The Ministry of Law aims to establish the Singapore Public Defender’s Office (PDO) by the end of this year, announced Law Minister K Shanmugam on Monday (Apr 4).

This proposal comes after Mr. Shanmugam said in 2020 while addressing the Parti Liyani case, that the Government would study the details and feasibility of a public defender scheme.

“We want to enhance access to justice for vulnerable individuals in Singapore,” said Mr. Shanmugam, who is also the Home Affairs Minister.

The PDO will be fully funded by the Government, he said, adding that the office will be established after a Bill on the matter has been passed in Parliament.

“This will also help preserve the pro bono spirit of the legal fraternity, which has been a key pillar of legal aid,” said Mr. Shanmugam.

Singapore Ministry of Law

The PDO will be set up as a department under the Ministry of Law and will be headed by a Chief Public Defender.

Singapore will adopt a “hybrid model” of criminal legal aid, which means that the PDO will have full-time lawyers as employees, who will take on cases as public defenders. read more

Source: Channel News Asia