An Appraisal of Legislative Procedure in the Singapore Parliament

This article critically examines legislative procedure in the Singapore Parliament. It explains how procedure can provide the time, information, and opportunities for effective legislative scrutiny by Parliament. It then considers in detail the different stages of law making which Parliament is or should be involved in—the passage of Government Bills, pre- and post-legislative scrutiny, subsidiary legislation scrutiny, and private members’ Bills. In areas where Parliament is not currently involved, the case is made for Parliamentary involvement and mechanisms are proposed to facilitate this. In areas where Parliament is involved, the article considers whether the existing procedure is fit for purpose and proposes reforms where there are deficiencies.

The Art and Science of Constitutional Legislation

Much of the existing Canadian literature on deference focuses on courts. What remains underexplored is how the Parliamentary process and executive policy design and constitutional review might inform the Court’s deference analysis. Drawing on the field of Gesetzgebungstheorie, or legisprudence, this paper considers whether deference analysis should be influenced by parliamentary work, including travaux préparatoires, evidentiary processes in committee, executive legal opinion, and legislative revision and review. We argue that good legislation in the sense of legislation that both passes constitutional muster and furthers constitutionally recognized values deserves deference by the courts; therefore, courts are justified in taking a deferential approach when reviewing good legislation. We posit that Gesetzgebungstheorie may assist in identifying processes and praxis that are more likely to bring about good legislation.