Reforming Legal Professional Privilege
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About the project

The Singapore Academy of Law’s Law Reform Committee examined whether rules relating to legal professional privilege required reform. It recommended that the statutory rules of legal professional privilege contained in the Evidence Act (Chapter 97, 1997 Revised Edition) should be applicable to affidavits presented to the court, and that various changes should be made to the rules governing the situation when the privilege is claimed in judicial contexts.

Project status: Completed

  • The report was published in October 2011.
  • The report was considered in Parliament on 14 February 2012 during the Second Reading of the Evidence (Amendment) Bill (Bill No 2 of 2012). Member of Parliament Desmond Lee queried if the Ministry of Law would be taking up the “useful proposals” in the report to codify the rules relating to legal advice privilege and litigation privilege in the Evidence Act, and to extend legal advice privilege to material prepared by a third party for the dominant purpose of seeking legal advice. Law Minister K Shanmugam said that the Ministry could look into these matters in the future. The Evidence (Amendment) Act 2012 (No 4 of 2012) that was eventually passed on the same date and which came into force on 1 August 2012 implemented the Committee’s recommendation that legal professional privilege should extend to in-house counsel working for companies, and broadened the rule to include in-house counsel employed by public agencies, including the Government, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and statutory boards: see sections 128A and 129–131 of the Evidence Act.
  • The report has been cited in the following cases:
    • By the Court of Appeal in ARX v Comptroller of Income Tax [2016] SGCA 56, [2016] 5 Singapore Law Reports [SLR] 590 at paragraphs 35 and 36 in the course of interpreting the provisions amended and introduced by the Evidence (Amendment) Act 2012.
    • By the High Court in Asplenium Land Pte Ltd v Lam Chye Shing [2019] SGHC 41, the Court distinguishing passages in the report from the case at hand.

Areas of law

Evidence law
Legal profession


Report of the Law Reform Committee on Reforming Legal Professional Privilege

Click on the image above to view the report

Last updated 27 May 2019