Singapore Site Map

Singapore Site Map



Brief Report on Artificial Intelligence & Other Emerging Legal-Technologies in Singapore

(A) Introduction & Executive Summary

1. Paragraph 10 of the Singapore Declaration at the 6th Council of ASEAN Chief Justices Meeting provides:

10. THE AGREEMENT that the terms of Reference of the Working Group on Case Management and Court Technology be expanded to look into new and potentially disruptive areas such as Artificial Intelligence and big data as well as on emerging legal-technology areas arising from blockchain technology (for example, bitcoins, decentralised autonomous organisation, smart contracts, crypto-currency) and to report to the Council at its next meeting.

2. Malaysia chairs the Working Group on Case Management and Court Technology. With a view to preparing the Working Group report, Malaysia has requested that CACJ members prepare a brief report on the emerging legal-technologies in their respective jurisdiction with regard to:

  1. Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) and big data; and
  2. Blockchain technology (e.g. bitcoins, decentralised autonomous organisation, smart contracts, crypto-currency).

3. This brief report will cover the following three main areas concerning Singapore:

  1. Recent developments on AI and other emerging legal-technologies;
  2. Developments or plans on AI and other emerging legal-technologies to be used in Court or in aid of Court processes; and
  3. Efforts in training Judges and Judicial Officers on the topics of AI and other emerging legal-technologies.

(B) Recent Developments on AI and Other Emerging Legal-Technologies

4. The Infocomm Media Development Authority (“IMDA”) is a statutory board in the Singapore Government that seeks to deepen regulatory capabilities for a converged infocomm media sector, safeguarding the interests of consumers and fostering pro-enterprise regulations. The IMDA has done much to promote awareness of AI and Data Innovation.

5. In order to aid businesses or individuals to understand data sharing concepts or key considerations when planning data partnerships, the IMDA has developed the Trusted Data Sharing Framework. The intent of the Framework is that with stronger safeguards and clarity on regulatory compliance, companies will be more ready to share their data and consequently, consumers can benefit from more personalised goods and new services.

6. The IMDA has developed several guides and programmes to facilitate and support businesses in their development and adoption of AI and Data projects to create/uncover new value for themselves, partners and/or customers. Any businesses interested in harnessing value of data, sharing of data, develop AI solutions or adopting AI can refer to the programmes and guides set out in the IMDA’s webpage.[1] To list a few, data service intermediaries, i.e. companies that offer platform or services to enable exchanges of data, can participate in the Data Collaborative Programme. Start-ups that are innovating with Data and AI may check out Startup Station Singapore, a joint programme by IMDA and Facebook, to provide start-ups with mentorship and guidance for their businesses. Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (“SMEs”) interested to harness the value of data and adopt AI to improve efficiency of businesses and generate new businesses can approach SME Digital Tech Hub.

7. On 23 January 2019, Singapore released its Model AI Governance Framework. First in Asia to translate ethical principles of explainability, transparency, fairness and human-centricity into implementable practices, the Model AI Governance Framework provides practical guidance to private sector organisations to address key ethical and governance issues when deploying AI solutions at scale. The accountability-based Model Framework frames the discussions around a common technology deployment process, focusing on internal governance, risk management, operations management and customer relationship management. Through the Model AI Governance Framework, the IMDA aims to promote responsible AI adoption to build trust and confidence in AI technologies.

8. Law firms in Singapore will also get a $3.68 million boost to help the legal services adopt technology in their practices. Under a new Tech-celerate for Law programme launched on 2 May 2019, law practices can get funding support from the Government for up to 70% for the first-year cost of adopting baseline and advanced technology solutions. Baseline technology solutions for practice management, online legal research and document management can help law practices perform essential day-to-day tasks more efficiently, while advanced technology solutions (powered by AI) can help law practices strengthen capabilities in document assembly, document review, e-discovery, and client engagement. The programme was launched by the Ministry of Law, the Law Society of Singapore, Enterprise Singapore and the IMDA.

9. In the area of blockchain technology and innovation, the IMDA seeks to promote awareness and adoption of the technology; and encourage companies to explore business model innovation and/or transformation arising from the technology. Through the Blockchain Challenge [2], the IMDA enables companies to develop pioneering solutions using blockchain.

The IMDA is also actively driving the development of the blockchain ecosystem in Singapore through OpenNodes[3], an engagement platform which will serve as a digital nexus for blockchain special interest groups, business ecosystems, solutions providers and other related services providers. OpenNodes will bring together government agencies, corporates and blockchain companies onto a single online platform, fostering innovation and collaboration in the blockchain community. Through such industry engagements, the IMDA would be able to identify challenges encountered by enterprises in the adoption or implementation of blockchain technologies, and explore relevant mitigation measures to address these challenges.

(C) AI and Other Emerging Legal-Technologies to be Used in Court or in Aid of Court Processes

10. In November 2018, to enhance the focus on innovation and technology, the Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon announced that a new Office of Transformation and Innovation (“OTI”) will be created to operationalise the strategic direction set for the whole Judiciary. The OTI will consider, amongst other things, how we may eradicate needless forms and processes, dispense with unnecessary hearings and meetings, improve access to our courts, embrace innovative models for our work, exploit existing technology as well as use AI and predictive technology to enhance the work of our courts.

11. The OTI is presently exploring the following:

  1. Use AI to develop speech-to-text real-time transcription capabilities;
  2. Use AI to help in getting relevant case law identified for judges to assist in decision making; and
  3. Develop tools to help with better scheduling and utilisation of court hearing days.

(D) Efforts in Training Judges and Judicial Officers on AI and Other Emerging Legal-Technologies

12. The Singapore Judicial College (“SJC”) has identified Legal-Tech as a focus area of its curriculum. The SJC has to date conducted several primers to introduce Judges and Judicial Officers to emerging areas in Legal-Tech and applications of technology:

20 February 2018Introduction to Cryptocurrency and the Legal Issues Arising
25 July 2018Genetics and Neuroscience in Criminal Justice; and the Forensic Brainwave Project (“brain finger-printing”)
9 January 2019Judges and LawTech: A Virtual Reality Check (Judicial Education Session for Supreme Court and International Judges)
22 January 2019Legal Issues in Artificial Intelligence
16 July 2019Fundamental Concepts and Use of Advanced Technologies in Crash Reconstruction (e.g. use of 3D laser-scanners and modelling tools)


13. For second half of 2019, SJC will be offering another AI primer session on 4 November 2019 by Mr Laurence Liew, who is the Director of AI Industry Innovation from AI Singapore. SJC intends to build on the above primers and has curated three modules from the Graduate Certificate in LegalTech, a public course offered by the Singapore Management University (“SMU”) Law Academy and the SMU Academy, to provide judges with the opportunity to delve deeper into cryptocurrency, blockchain and smart contracts as well as AI.

14. Separately, the Supreme Court’s Office of Public Affairs also organised a training session for Judicial Officers on blockchain and smart contracts on 6 March 2018.

15. Lastly, the CACJ Singapore is exploring the possibility of collaborating with SMU in organising a 3-day signature seminar-workshop on AI & Other Emerging Tech sometime in second half of 2020 for judges and senior law officials. The proposed workshop will be held in Singapore and tentatively fixed from 25 to 27 November 2020.


[1] See

[2] For more information, please see the IMDA’s webpage at




Strata Titles Board

Strata Titles Board

The Strata Titles Boards are tribunals constituted under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (Cap 30C, 2008 Rev Ed) (“BMSMA”) to mediate and hear applications between subsidiary proprietors and management corporations, or between subsidiary proprietors, in relation to disputes arising out of strata titled property and orders for collective sales of property under the Land Titles (Strata) Act (Cap 158, 2009 Rev Ed).

Common disputes brought before the Strata Titles Boards include those on inter-floor water leakages, performance or failure to perform certain duties under the BMSMA or by-laws, applications to convene meetings or invalidate resolutions passed by the management corporation, car parking woes, complaints with regard to alterations to common property and applications to revoke or invalidate certain by-laws.

The Strata Titles Boards consist of board members, including the President and Deputy Presidents, who are appointed by the Minister of National Development. They are assisted by a Registrar who has the power to hear interlocutory applications.

When an application is made to the Strata Titles Boards, a panel is formed to hear the matter. The President of the Strata Titles Boards assigns professionals who are best suited to deal with the matter to be on a panel.

Parties may engage lawyers to represent them in proceedings before the Strata Titles Boards. However, Strata Titles Boards proceedings generally do not require a party to be represented by a lawyer.



Small Claims Tribunal

Small Claims Tribunal

Establishment of the Small Claims Tribunals

The Small Claims Tribunals (SCT) were established on 1 February 1985, under the Small Claims Tribunals Act. The SCT provides a speedy, low-cost forum for the resolution of small value claims.


The SCT hears claims of the following nature:

(a) Disputes arising from contracts for the sale of goods;

(b) Disputes arising from contracts for the provision of services;

(c) Disputes in tort in respect of damage caused to property, except those arising out of or in connection with the use of a motor vehicle and those causing interference with a neighbour’s enjoyment or use of a place of residence under s 4 of the Community Disputes Resolution Act; and

(d) Disputes arising from contracts for the lease of residential premises that does not exceed 2 years.

The SCT has jurisdiction to hear such claims where the amount in dispute does not exceed $10,000 and the cause of action accrued over the last one year. However, where all parties to the proceedings consent in writing, the Small Claims Tribunals may hear a claim where the amount in dispute does not exceed $20,000.


An appeal against a decision of the SCT may only be made on a ground involving a question of law or on the ground that the claim was outside the jurisdiction of SCT. No appeal is allowed against the SCT’s findings of the facts. Appeals against the order of the SCT are heard by the High Court.



Intellectual Property Office of Singapore

Intellectual Property Office of Singapore

The Intellectual Property of Singapore (“IPOS”) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Law. An innovation agency that uses its IP expertise and networks to drive Singapore’s future growth, its focus is on helping enterprises grow through IP and innovation strategies, developing skills and expertise in these areas, and creating a vibrant ecosystem where today’s ideas become tomorrow’s assets.

Within IPOS, the Registries of Patents, Designs, Trade Marks & Plant Varieties respectively administer the Patents, Registered Designs, Trade Marks and Plant Varieties Protection Acts, which includes processing and granting of the corresponding IP rights in Singapore.

The Hearings and Mediation Department of IPOS facilitates the resolution of disputes relating to the registration of Trademarks, Patents, Registered Designs and Plant Varieties Protection. Proceedings within the Hearings and Mediation Department of IPOS can be heard by the Registrar and his delegates.

The Copyright Tribunal is a forum for resolving licensing disputes between collective management organisations and users of copyright materials. IPOS is the Secretariat and assists with the administration of Copyright Tribunals. Submission of forms and fees is made to the Secretariat at IPOS.



Industrial Arbitration Court

Industrial Arbitration Court

Establishment of the Industrial Arbitration Court

The Industrial Arbitration Court (“IAC”) was established in 1960 with the passage of the Industrial Relations Ordinance (which was later replaced by the Industrial Relations Act (Cap 136, 2004 Rev Ed)). The court was set up to deal with matters concerning employer-employee relations and the settlement of trade disputes.


The IAC’s functions include the registration and certification of collective agreements, resolution of industrial disputes through the making of Court awards or Referee decisions, the interpretation and enforcement of awards, setting aside or variation of awards or collective agreements, mediation and providing advisory services on matters pertaining to industrial relations.


The IAC is presided over by the President and Deputy President, who are appointed by the President of Singapore on the advice of the Prime Minister. The IAC has two panels: an Employer panel and an Employee panel. The panels are appointed by the Minister for Manpower, on the recommendation of the Singapore National Employers’ Federation and the National Trades Union Congress. The IAC is also supported by a Registrar and other officers.

Dispute Resolution Process

Where a dispute arises between an employment and a union, they are encouraged to resolve the dispute through discussion and negotiations. If this fails, they are encouraged to seek the assistance of the Ministry of Manpower to conciliate between the parties. Where these efforts are unsuccessful, the dispute may be referred to the IAC.

When the IAC first receives an application for arbitration, the Registrar calls for a meeting with the employer and the union concerned. Subject to the agreement of the parties, the Registrar may call for further meetings to help the parties resolve the dispute amicably through mediation. If the parties are able to resolve the dispute amicably, the party or parties who submitted the application to the IAC is asked to withdraw the application, and the case is closed.

If the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the Registrar will arrange for the dispute to be heard by the Court. The Industrial Relations Act provides for the IAC to hear, inquire into and investigate disputes submitted to the IAC, and to settle the dispute by arbitration. For the majority of dispute hearings, a Court is constituted comprising the President of the IAC and a member each from the employee and employer panels. The members are nominated by the two parties to the dispute (the union and the employer). Depending on the nature of the dispute, a Court may be constituted by the President alone.



Employment Claims Tribunal

Employment Claims Tribunal

Establishment of the Employment Claims Tribunals

The Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT) were launched on 1 April 2017. It provides employees and employers with a speedy, low cost forum to resolve their salary related disputes. The key legislation governing the ECT are the Employment Claims Act 2016 (Act 21 of 2016), the Employment Claims Rules 2017, and the Employment Claims Regulations 2017.


The ECT’s subject-matter jurisdiction includes:

(a) statutory salary-related claims from employees covered under the Employment Act, Retirement and Re-Employment Act, and Child Development Co-Savings Act;

(b) contractual salary-related claims by all employees, except domestic workers, public servants and seafarers; and

(c) claims for salary in lieu of notice of termination by employers.

The ECT has jurisdiction to hear claims of up to $20,000, or up to $30,000 if the dispute has undergone mediation assisted by unions recognised under the Industrial Relations Act. Parties whose claims exceed the applicable limit may abandon the amount in excess of the limit for the ECT to hear their claims.


Appeals from decisions or orders of the ECT are heard by the High Court. An appeal against a decision of the ECT may only be made on any ground involving a question of law, or on the ground that the claim falls outside of the ECT’s jurisdiction. A party may not appeal on any findings of fact by the ECT.



Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals

Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals

Establishment of the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals

The Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals (CDRT) were established on 1 October 2015 under the Community Disputes Resolution Act. The CDRT hears cases between neighbours after all efforts at reaching a resolution through mediation have been exhausted.


Under the Community Disputes Resolution Act, the CDRT can hear disputes between neighbours. Neighbours are defined as persons who live in the same building, or within a 100 metre radius of each other, but does not include a person who lives in the same place of residence. The CDRT can make orders for damages of not more than S$20,000, injunction, specific performance, apology, or any other order to give effect to the above.

When hearing a neighbour dispute case, the CDRT considers the ordinary instances of daily living which include living in high rise, high density, multi-racial, religious, and cultural settings, that can be expected to be tolerated by reasonable persons living in Singapore. Interferences that may result in neighbour disputes include causing excessive noise, smell, or smoke, littering, trespass on a neighbour’s place of residence, or surveillance of the neighbour’s place of residence.


An appeal can be made to a Tribunal Judge from any judgment, order or direction of the CDRT Registrar. Appeals against a decision, direction or order of a Tribunal Judge lie in the High Court.