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.

Quality Control and Management in Legislation

It is not enough to claim the quality of legislation. It has to be realized as well. The question is whether the general assumptions of quality management systems can, if at all and to what extent, be adopted to introduce and ensure a quality management of the legislative process. In this paper, a possible theoretical framework for quality management of legislation is developed. First, the paper will offer an overview on quality management and its application. It will then discuss its applicability to the legislative process and the law making organs. The main finding of this paper is that an adaptation of the underlying idea of quality management systems is possible without standardizing the legislative process.