Public Consultation Paper on the Interim Recommendations of the Committee for Family Justice
Public Consultation on the Proposed Amendments to the Copyright Act
7 May 2014 to 7 Jun 2014
At the Opening of Legal Year 2013, the Honourable Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon announced the establishment of an inter-agency committee to study and recommend possible reforms to the family justice system to better serve the needs of families in distress.
Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Ms Indranee Rajah SC and Judge of Appeal Justice V K Rajah were appointed by the Minister for Law to chair the Committee for Family Justice. Members of the Committee and its Subcommittees come from a range of backgrounds involved in family justice, including the Ministry of Law, the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the Supreme Court, the State Courts, social services, and the legal fraternity. Please see Appendix A of the Public Consultation Paper for the list of committee members.
The Committee’s objective is to establish a problem-solving family justice system that will:
- Protect and support the family as the basic unit of our society;
- Ensure that the interests of the child are protected;
- Effectively and fairly resolve family conflicts;
- Reduce the emotional burden, time and cost of resolving family disputes; and
- Increase access to family justice for all.
The Committee and its Subcommittees have held wide-ranging and comprehensive discussions, and consulted extensively with stakeholders in the family justice ecosystem.
The Committee has thereafter submitted its interim recommendations.
The Interim Recommendations are outlined in the Public Consultation Paper which can be found at Annex A.
The Committee’s key interim recommendations include:
- Empowering community touch points such as Family Service Centres, schools, hospitals, charities, MPs and lawyers to direct families to the appropriate providers of solutions for their issues, both pre- and post-court.
- Enhancing social support service providers and integrating them with the family courts system. This includes the establishment of Specialist Agencies in key community nodes across Singapore that will provide a range of services to address issues arising from divorce. These Specialist Agencies will be additional to the three existing ones for dealing with Family Violence. They will provide services such as information and non-legal advice, case management by social workers, counselling and family dispute management.
- Creating a comprehensive specialist family court structure known as the Family Justice Courts through a new Family Justice Act. This will introduce enhanced court management processes that will empower the court to adjudicate and resolve family disputes more effectively, and lessen the trauma of the divorce process. Changes will also be made to provide greater assistance to the high numbers of litigants who act in person within the family court.
- Placing more emphasis on addressing the interests of children in divorces. The proposed measures include: (a) expanding the mandate of the existing Counselling and Psychological Servicers of the State Courts, which currently provides a voice to the child, to better represent the child; (b) appointing Child Representatives in appropriate court proceedings to act as their advocate; and (c) involving social service professionals in court proceedings to ensure that the best interests of the child are promoted.
- Members of the public are invited to share their views on the Public Consultation Paper on the Interim Recommendations of the Committee for Family Justice. The consultation period is from 7 May 2014 to 7 June 2014. Views and suggestions may be submitted in electronic form or hard copy form to:
Committee for Family Justice
c/o Legal Policy Division, Ministry of Law
100 High Street
#08-02, The Treasury
Fax: 6332 8842
Last updated on 26 May 2014