Five-day event to raise public awareness about legal rights

Singapore, 22 July 2013 – For five days from 22 to 26 July, the Singapore Academy of Law (“SAL”), together with Law Society of Singapore, Subordinate Courts, the Community Development Councils, Community Justice Centre, National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University, are organising a series of activities to make the public more aware of their legal rights and where they can get free legal help. SAL also hopes to use the occasion to encourage members of the legal profession to get involved in pro bono activities.

The inaugural Law Week 2013 was launched by the Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon today. CJ Menon who is also the President of SAL said that “the law can be unpleasant, even painful and traumatic” for the uninitiated. An event like Law Week 2013 will help the public to be aware of the legal processes and instill confidence that the law exists to safeguard their well-being and interests.

To equip lawyers with up-to-date knowledge on legal developments so that they would be better able to serve the community, SAL is organising 10 continuing legal education sessions during Law Week 2013 that will focus mainly on areas of law that affect the community.

The following initiatives were launched by CJ Menon as part of Law Week 2013:

Legal Talks and Clinics
Free legal talks and clinics for the public will be held over four evenings from 22 to 25 July. More than 1,200 members of the public have already signed up for the two talks which will be held at the Supreme Court auditorium on 22 July (Monday) and 24 July (Wednesday). The talks will focus on a range of topics relevant to the man-on-the-street including criminal proceedings such as illegal money lending, employment matters, personal insolvency, family law, estate management and consumer protection.

Volunteer lawyers will also conduct free on-site legal clinics over two evenings at the Subordinate Courts on 23 and 25 July for about 100 participants who had already pre-registered.

“We are very happy and excited that the response from the members of the public has been so overwhelming. Places for the talks were fully subscribed within a few days and many had asked to be placed on a wait list. To accommodate the many interested members of public, we have decided to move the venue for the Legal Talks to the auditorium at the Supreme Court which has a bigger capacity,” said Ms Jennifer Marie, Deputy Chief District Judge, Subordinate Courts and Chairperson of the Law Week Organising Committee.

“Know the Law NOW!” special commemorative publication
A book entitled “Know the Law NOW!” will be made available free of charge to participants attending the legal talks and clinics. Compiled by a group of volunteer lawyers from Law Society’s Law Awareness Committee, the book contains 38 chapters covering key areas of the law written specifically with the layperson in mind. Copies are available in English and Mandarin. Members of the public can also download an online copy from the Law Society website from today.

Interactive Directory on Legal Clinic Services
Those who need free legal help but do not know where to go can check out a new interactive directory available from today at the Law Society Pro Bono website. The directory will list the location, frequency and timings of all legal clinics services available in Singapore.

LegalHelp Portal
The LegalHelp portal (www.legalhelp.com.sg) is a free online platform for members of the public or anyone in need of legal help to pose their questions to members of the legal fraternity or other members of the public who share similar experiences for guidance. This platform will be supported by a network of local lawyers that have volunteered to contribute their time and effort to help those in need.

The LegalHelp portal was developed by a group of friends who were previously Justices Law Clerks at the Supreme Court and is funded under the SAL Innovations and Ideas Scheme which was set up to encourage members of the legal fraternity to develop and implement new ideas that will benefit the legal industry and the wider community.

#Law & Community Exhibition
In line with the theme, Law Week 2013 will also feature an exhibition on Criminal Justice and Family Law. SAL has worked closely with various law enforcement agencies, the Family Court and the National Archives of Singapore to put together information, photographs and artefacts, some of which will be displayed to the public for the first time. The exhibition will be open to the public from 12.30 pm to 6.00 pm on 22 July and from 9.30 am to 6.00 pm on 23 – 26 July. Tour and school groups can call 63328377 or email rsvp@sal.org.sg to make prior arrangements.

About Singapore Academy of Law 25th Anniversary celebrations
The Singapore Academy of Law (“the Academy”) turns 25 this year. To mark this significant milestone, the Academy is organising a series of signature events.

In addition to Law Week 2013, SAL will hold a charity concert, The LeX Factor - Law has Talent on 12 September 2013 in support of the Yellow Ribbon Fund ("YRF"). Proceeds from ticket sales will go directly to the YRF-SAL STAR (Skills Training Assistance to Re-start) Bursary.

For more details on our anniversary, visit www.sal.org.sg/sal25.

About Singapore Academy of Law
The Singapore Academy of Law (the “Academy”) is the umbrella body of the legal community in Singapore and has close to 10,000 members.

The work of the Academy is focused on three key areas: supporting the growth and development of the Legal Industry; building up the intellectual capital of the legal profession by enhancing Legal Knowledge; and improving the efficiency of legal practice through Legal Technology. The work of the Academy is driven by these three core mandates. This in turn is directed towards raising the standard and quality of legal practice and building a strong and dynamic legal community in Singapore.
Besides its role as the official law reporting agency in Singapore, the Academy’s other functions include providing continuing legal education for its members, publishing legal literature, promoting legal research and legal studies, the reform and development of the law and alternative dispute resolution.

For more details on the Academy, visit www.sal.org.sg.

Foo Kim Leng (Ms)
Assistant Director
Corporate Communications
Tel: + 65 6332 5365/9635 8850
Email: foo_kim_leng@sal.org.sg