Essays in Singapore Legal History

Many legal concepts we take for granted are steeped in history and were the products of an evolutionary process that is so much a part of the common law system. Although legal history is important to our understanding of legal doctrine and rules, it is often neglected. A legal system cannot live without its past. This book was written with the aim of further deepening interest in Singapore’s legal history.

Co-published with Marshall Cavendish Academic.


  1. Essays in Singapore Legal History: An Introduction
  2. The Reception of English Law
  3. A Short Legal and Constitutional History in Singapore
  4. A History of the Singapore Legal Service
  5. The Development of the Court System
  6. A History of Law Reporting
  7. Legal Education in Singapore
  8. The Legal Profession
  9. The Development of Land Registration in Singapore
  10. The Development of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice


KEVIN Y. L. TAN graduated with LLB (Hons) from the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore in 1986 and joined the teaching staff of the same faculty that year. Subsequently, he obtained his LLM (Master of Law) and JSD (Doctor in the Science of Law) from Yale Law School. From 1986 to 2000, he taught Constitutional and Administrative Law, Criminal Law, Singapore Legal System, Law and Government, Law and Society and International Human Rights. He resigned as Associate Professor in 2000 to start his own consultancy. He has published widely and his Constitutional Law in Malaysia and Singapore (with Thio Li-ann) is the standard casebook in use in Malaysia and Singapore. He is author/editor of Managing Political Change in Singapore: The Elected Presidency (Routledge, 1997); Lee's Lieutenants: Singapore's Old Guard (Allen & Unwin, 1999) (both with Lam Peng Er); The Singapore Legal System (Singapore University Press, 1999); and Scouting in Singapore: 1910-2000 (Singapore Scout Association/National Archives, 2002) (with Wan Meng Hao). From 1998 to 2000, he was Chief Editor of the Singapore Journal of International and Comparative Law and from 2000 to 2003 was the journal's Adjunct Editor.




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