Criminal Law for the 21st Century – A Model Code for Singapore

In this book, the authors propose a set of improved and modernised provisions expressing the general principles of criminal responsibility. This set of principles will comprise a “General Part” which, it is proposed, will form part of Singapore’s Penal Code. The key objective of devising and enacting the General Part is to significantly revitalise the Penal Code and restore many of its original technical attributes. Each chapter of this book comprises: (a) a carefully considered and drafted provision on a general principle of criminal responsibility; (b) a summary of the existing law in Singapore pertaining to that principle; (c) a selection of recent formulations of that principle from other jurisdictions to benchmark Singapore’s law (both current and proposed) with international best practices; and (d) a comparison of these formulations with the provision proposed in this book for inclusion as a General Part in Singapore’s Penal Code.


Chapter I Introduction
By Stanley Yeo

PART 1 Purpose and Application
By Stanley Yeo

Chapter 1.1 Purpose and Application

PART 2 Proof of Criminal Responsibility and Establishing Guilt
By Michael Hor

Chapter 2.1 Burden of Proof
Chapter 2.2 Principle of Concurrence between the Fault and Physical Elements of a Crime

PART 3 External Elements of Offences
By Chan Wing Cheong

Chapter 3.1 Physical Elements
Chapter 3.2 Voluntariness
Chapter 3.3 Omissions
Chapter 3.4 Causation

PART 4 Fault Elements of Offences
By Chan Wing Cheong

Chapter 4.1 Fault Elements
Chapter 4.2 Transferred Fault and Defences
Chapter 4.3 Offences without Specific Fault Elements
Chapter 4.4 Corporate Criminal Liability

PART 5 Offences Which Do Not Require Fault
By Chan Wing Cheong

Chapter 5.1 Strict Liability
Chapter 5.2 Absolute Liability

PART 6 Extensions of Criminal Responsibility
By Michael Hor

Chapter 6.1 Abetment, Conspiracy and Group Liability
Chapter 6.2 Attempt

PART 7 Defences
By Stanley Yeo

Chapter 7.1 Children
Chapter 7.2 Mental Impairment
Chapter 7.3 Involuntary Intoxication
Chapter 7.4 Voluntary Intoxication
Chapter 7.5 Mistake or Ignorance of Fact
Chapter 7.6 Mistake or Ignorance of Law
Chapter 7.7 Private Defence
Chapter 7.8 Duress
Chapter 7.9 Necessity

Appendix Penal Code (General Part) Act



Chan Wing Cheong is an associate professor of law and Amaladass Fellow at the National University of Singapore. He specialises in criminal law and family law, and has written extensively in these areas.

Stanley Yeo is a professor of law at the National University of Singapore. He is an internationally-renowned comparative law scholar who has studied the criminal laws of various jurisdictions for three decades. He has authored several books on the Indian/Singapore Penal Code.

Michael Hor is a professor of law at the National University of Singapore. He has researched, published and taught criminal law and criminal evidence and process for more than two decades.

All three authors are regularly consulted by both the Singapore Ministry of Law and the Criminal Practice Committee of the Law Society of Singapore on matters concerning criminal law reform.



Publication Type:


CS Redeemable:


Date of Publication:

Jul 2013

ISBN Code:








Shipping to SG:









" “To revitalise a code such as the Penal Code is to give it a fresh vitality and invigorate it. As views about crime and punishment change, the Penal Code, which carries a substantial portion of the laws that dictate this area of law, must keep pace with social norms and attitude. Parliament has to be the gauge of changes in those norms and attitude, but it will need ideas to see how modern it thinks the criminal law should be. Criminal Law in the 21st Century – A Model Code for Singapore is a source worth examining. For students of current law, this book exposes the areas that invigorate discussion and debate.”"