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Speech by The Honourable Judge of Appeal Justice Andrew Phang at the launch of Singapore Law Reports (Reissue)

Chief Justice, Ministers, Attorney-General, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

One key milestone of any mature legal system lies in its system of law reporting.  In particular, the law reports concerned ought to be available in hard and soft copies and ought also to be made as widely available as possible.  This reissue series of the Singapore Law Reports (“the SLR(R)”) represents the first complete and integrated effort in this particular regard.  The launch of this series enables the Singapore Academy of Law to offer both the hardcopy and softcopy judgments (on LawNet) at affordable prices to as wide a readership as possible.  It encompasses the most significant cases decided since Independence in 1965 (comprising no fewer than 5,500 cases reported in 78 volumes (together with 6 volumes of consolidated tables and indexes)). 

We commemorate this special occasion with this launch of a special limited edition of 100 sets, the majority of which (I am happy to report) have in fact already been sold.  More importantly, the SLR(R) now becomes the official series which has not only been endorsed by the Council of Judges of the Supreme Court but is also to be cited in priority to other versions in both written as well as oral submissions before the Singapore courts.

The opportunity has also been taken not only to include at least 50 hitherto unreported decisions but also to ensure that all cases have been paragraph numbered for easy reference and citation (together with pinpoint (as opposed to only general) citations in the text of the judgments themselves).  Many errors (including typographical errors and erroneous citations, all a natural consequence of human error) have also been corrected and, with a new catchword system in place, there will be better integration between the printed Singapore Law Reports and the corresponding cases in the LawNet database.  Further, the majority of the headnotes have been rewritten by a team of headnoters in order to ensure as effective a summary as possible for the reader.  Indeed, an Editorial Board (comprising 40 Senior Legal Service Officers as well as leading academics in their respective fields) was engaged to audit the quality of the headnotes.  We owe the Board Members a profound debt of gratitude for the public service they have rendered.  As a small token of appreciation, a volume of SLR(R) Comparative Table of Citations (which has been personalised and kindly autographed by the Honourable the Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong) will be presented to each Member after this Launch.

This has been a mammoth project stretching back some eight years.  This is not surprising, given the enormous number of cases involved (running into the thousands).  Indeed, this is probably the single largest collaborative publication effort in the local legal context.  A great many persons have naturally been involved in it, some of whom have already been mentioned.  I would like to thank each and every person for contributing towards this project (including the editors as well as editorial operations personnel of the Academy).  It would be no exaggeration to state that the single-minded dedication and commitment demonstrated by all concerned went above and beyond the call of duty.  I would also like to thank the Honourable the Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong for his support throughout.  It is now my privilege to call upon the Honourable the Chief Justice to launch this series.