21 SAcLJ 97 (2009)
Statutory Interpretation in Singapore

handle is hein.journals/saclj21 and id is 99 raw text is: Statutory Interpretation in Singapore

STATUTORY INTERPRETATION IN SINGAPORE
15 Years on from Legislative Reform
More than 15 years ago, the Singapore Parliament passed
legislation in 1993 directing the courts to prefer an
interpretation that would promote the purpose or object
underlying any written law. That same legislation also
contained guidance on when extrinsic materials may be
referred to in ascertaining the meaning of a statutory
provision, as well as the type of materials which may be
considered in such circumstances. This article provides an
update on the 15th anniversary of the aforementioned
legislative reform on statutory interpretation in Singapore,
shedding light on the remarkable transformation in the
approach taken by the Singapore courts towards statutory
interpretation: indeed, from an initially cautious approach,
the Singapore courts have now adopted an extremely
expansive view of the effects of the 1993 reform. This article
outlines some problems for the future, along with the
attendant suggested solutions, for further consideration. It is
hoped that the account provided in this article will be of
interest to the particular issue of the local approach in
statutory interpretation and, more broadly, to the universal
and enduring problem of the proper approach towards
statutory interpretation.
GOH Yihan*
LLB (Hons) (National University of Singapore);
Teaching Assistant, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore.
1.      Introduction
I       In 1993, shortly after the seminal House of Lords decision of
Pepper (Inspector of Taxes) v Hart1 (Pepper v Hart) was decided,
*   The author would like to thank the Honourable V K Rajah JA and Professor
A P Simester for their helpful suggestions and comments. They do not necessarily
agree with the views expressed in this article and, needless to say, all errors remain
the author's own. The author would also like to thank Sandra Tan for her
painstaking editorial work.
I   [1992] 3 WLR 1032. See, for example, T St J N Bates, Parliamentary Material and
Statutory Construction: Aspects of the Practical Application of Pepper v Hart
(cont'd on the next page)

(2009) 21 SAcLJ

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