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Simpler, faster and cheaper process for small companies restructuring or winding down: Shanmugam

Simpler, faster and cheaper process for small companies restructuring or winding down: Shanmugam

Office workers at Raffles Place. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Law will help small and micro companies who need to restructure or wind down their businesses through simpler, faster and cheaper proceedings, said Law Minister K Shanmugam on Thursday (Aug 27).

With some companies facing insolvency in the coming months, financial constraints may cause litigants to forgo pursuing their legal rights, said Mr Shanmugam at the Ministry of Law’s addendum to President Halimah Yacob’s address at Monday’s opening of the 14th Parliament.

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The ministry will also continue to strengthen and enhance access to justice for all Singaporeans, he said.

“COVID-19 has brought on new challenges to our society and may have exacerbated the legal problems which vulnerable groups face,” he said.

To better support these vulnerable groups, the Government will expand its partnerships with social service agencies and Family Service Centres to help people with their legal problems and their underlying social needs.

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The ministry will also work with its partners to ensure that access to legal aid and advice will not be hampered by a lack of access to technology.

Common legal processes like conveyancing, making a will and applying for probate will be reviewed and streamlined, and the use of technology accelerated to make the processes more accessible and user-friendly.

The Ministry of Law will also review the Community Dispute Management Framework to better manage disputes between neighbours.

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MAINTAINING TRUST IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM

To maintain trust in the legal system, the Government will continue to undertake legal reforms, said Mr Shanmugam.

He cited amendments to the Penal Code which introduced enhanced penalties for offences against minors and vulnerable victims, and new offences for voyeurism, distributing intimate images and sexually exploiting minors.

Amendments to the Protection from Harassment Act increased protections for victims of harassment and online bullying and tackled offences like doxxing. A new specialist Protection from Harassment Court will provide a “one-stop solution” for victims to receive “holistic and effective relief” with simplified procedures and expedited timelines.

READ: Singapore will push for sustainable growth, further strengthen social safety nets: President Halimah

The Ministry of Law will also promote the use of multidisciplinary approaches and processes to resolve family disputes out of court, through progressively implementing recommendations of the Committee to Review and Enhance Reforms in the Family Justice System.

Court processes in the civil justice system will be simplified and streamlined, costs kept affordable and court proceedings conducted flexibly by expanding the scope of remote hearings or hearings occurring at different times.

“A strong rule of law is a cornerstone of a progressive country. We will continue to undertake legal reforms to maintain trust in our legal system. 

“We will also continue to be a responsible member of the international community and fulfil our international obligations, such as our efforts in anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism,” said Mr Shanmugam.

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Source: CNA/zl

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