About the project
The Singapore Academy of Law’s Law Reform Committee examined the rule in evidence law that an expert’s opinion on subjects requiring special expertise is admissible as evidence, considering if there were inadequacies or uncertainties that require reform. It recommended that section 47 of the Evidence Act (Chapter 97, 1997 Revised Edition) be amended in the following ways, among others:
- Expert opinion should be admissible on all scientific, technical or other specialised knowledge, and not only on foreign law, science and art, or as to the identity and genuineness of handwriting or finger impressions.
- Expert opinion should be admissible even if it relates to a matter of common knowledge, because the mere fact that lay persons have a common-sense view on some issues should not deprive the court of experts’ opinions on them.
Project status: Completed
- The report was published in October 2011.
- The Committee’s recommendations were implemented by the Evidence (Amendment) Act 2012 (No 4 of 2012), which was passed on 14 February 2012 and came into force on 1 August 2012. In addition, Parliament provided in section 47(4) that the court may decline to admit opinion evidence where it is of the view that it would not be in the interests of justice to treat it as relevant.
- The report was cited in the following works:
- Chen Siyuan & Nicholas Poon, “Reliability and Relevance as the Touchstones for Admissibility of Evidence in Criminal Proceedings: Muhammad bin Kadar v PP  3 SLR 1205” (2012) 24 Singapore Academy of Law Journal [Sing Acad LJ] 533 at page 538, footnote 27; and at page 543, footnote 63.
- Ronald J J Wong, “Judging between Conflicting Expert Evidence: Understanding the Scientific Method and Its Impact on Apprehending Expert Evidence” (2014) 26 Sing Acad LJ 169.
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Areas of law
◾ Evidence law
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Last updated 28 May 2019