Changing Ideas of Representation: Representative Democracy, and the Rule of Law in Singapore

This paper examines recent pronouncements, both in and outside of courts, concerning the nature of representative democracy and how it relates to the rule of law in Singapore. Given that conceptions of the rule of law are theorized to require the incorporation of democracy into the legal system, this article examines the implications of recent cases in Singapore for how representative democracy should be understood, and for the mutually supportive nature of democracy and the rule of law. In particular, it analyses the Court of Appeal’s opinion in the seminal case of Vellama d/o Marie Muthu v Attorney-General [2013] 4 SLR 1 where the Court relied on the rule of law in holding that decisions of the Prime Minister on calling by-elections are judicially reviewable.