Mytravel – Singapore supreme court

Many people always said, travelling doesn’t have to be out of your own country; sometimes, going to places in your own homeland that you’ve never been to can bring about a new experience, and open your eyes to new things you’ve not seen, done before.

So I decided, on this once in a blue moon chance to take leave from work on a weekday, I’ve decided to explore places I have never been to.

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See the red little dot in the map? That's where Singapore my homeland is!

Singapore is a small tropical island situated in south east asia, along the straits of malacca, right below malaysia, and above indonesia. No, we are not in malaysia, neither is Singapore in china (which we’ve heard of quite often). Being a tropical island surrounded by water, you can expect sunny weather (with occasional rain) for most of the days of the years, plus humidity.

As a citizen here for more than 20 years, I have always thought that I’ve been to most of the places here, and this is just a boring island with not much interesting places to visit. Someone had quoted before:” There are no uninteresting things or places, only uninterested people”. I totally agree with this statement. Hence, I decided to re-visit my homeland today with a tourist eye and a curious mind!

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The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.

– Dorothy Parker

Supreme court Singapore
Always passing by this building that look like an old imperial colonial times building, and never wonder what’s going on inside, and never wonder how is e legal system like in singapore. Have you heard a real court case before? (Not those dramatic type that we see on tv or dramas) Not me definitely. So I took this opportunity to explore the supreme court and attended a court hearing today.

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Old Supreme court till june 2005

I never knew the supreme court has been moved out of this building since 2005, and the new renovated building has already started work since 2012. I thought the old supreme court building looks historical and vintage and it’ll be good to retain and refurnished it abit. It’s such a waste if it was going to be demolished, with over a hundred years of history. This is a dilemma of modernisation.

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The above picture is the artist’s image of the new supreme court building estimated to be completed by 2015. The dome of the old building are going to be replaced by the “UfO”-shaped” structure. It looks quite cool, don’t you think so?

Constitution of the court
Anyway, the supreme court is one of the two tiers of the court system in singapore, the other being the subordinate court. It is the superior court of record compared to subordinate court. Supreme court is made up of court of appeal and the high court. The court of appeal is the final appellate court in singapore. It hears appeals against decisions of high court judges on both civil and criminal matters.

The high court hears both civil and criminal cases as a court of first instance. It also hears civil and criminal appeals from the diatrict courts and magistrates’ courts and civil appeals from certain tribunals as prescribed by law.
You can visit here to find out more.

My experience
The current supreme court building although looks demure on the outside, it is rather stern and majestic on the inside. There are security checks at the entrance; once inside, I was impalled by the silence and the atmosphere.

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Interior of the current (2014) supreme court

As I was late, I hurried to find the court room of the hearing that I wanted to attend. Arriving outside the courtroom, there is a separate door for public to enter to observe the hearing. It is a small room separated by glass panel; I am the only audience in the hearing room, accompanied by two stern looking police officer sitting at the back row. You can imagine the atmosphere inside…. The seating arrangement of the judge and lawyer somehow resembles those I’ve seen on tv shows, maybe except that the lawyers do not wear a wig nowadays.

As expected, it is not easy for me to understand the contents of the hearing, with frequent references to the various section of the statutory law.

It is a good experience for me, and I’m glad I took a step to learn something new, in my own country. If you are also thinking of visiting the supreme court, remember to wear formal clothing (no shorts, slippers, sandals); bow to the judges if you enter the hearing halfway or leave halfway, keep silent during the hearing and no taking out of phone during court hearing.
You can find out more from the ifaq of the supreme court website.

This experience stimulated my curiosity to find out more about the laws of singapore and the various proceedings. I’m glad that this is not a boring session for me and I have gained something today, just by tuning my perspective.

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