‘The Notion of a Subjective or Unfettered Discretion is Contrary to the Rule of Law’: Judicial Review of Administrative Action in Singapore

  • Eugene K. B. TanEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Ius Comparatum - Global Studies in Comparative Law book series (GSCL, volume 39)


This chapter examines the state of judicial deference in Singapore. For much of Singapore’s independent history, Singapore courts did not substantively engage with the issue of deference—until about a decade ago. While there is yet to be a general doctrine of deference in Singapore, the contours of the courts’ broad approach to deference can be discerned, which tends towards erring on the side of prudence and caution in the fair and just protection of governmental autonomy. In the last few years, rights protection has, arguably, been enhanced in judicial review. The courts have articulated a more robust approach towards curial deference and justiciability. Recent jurisprudence point to the courts seeking an even-handed approach towards the separation of powers and the fundamental purpose and objective of judicial review. Singapore’s jurisprudence points to the imperative for judicial review reflect the socio-political culture, norms and values of the community. Regardless, the bottom line in judicial review in Singapore is that “the notion of a subjective or unfettered discretion is contrary to the rule of law. All power has legal limits and the rule of law demands that the courts should be able to examine the exercise of discretionary power”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law, Singapore Management UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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