(Delivered in Parliament on 2 September 2019)
Mr Deputy Speaker, sir, I declare my interest as a practising lawyer. I support the consolidation of the laws under the current RECJA and REFJA under a revised REFJA pursuant to the Reciprocal Enforcement of Commonwealth Judgments (Repeal) Bill and the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments (Amendment) Bill, though I can’t help but notice the slight tinge of irony that the well-used RECJA is being repealed in our Bicentennial year, though nevertheless for a good reason. Mr Deputy Speaker, I also welcome the expanded categories of judgments or court orders under the proposed amendments which will lead to greater applicability and opportunities for enforcement.
I would like to seek a few clarifications from the SMS.
One, I would like to ask the SMS, after the passing of the bills, what are the Government’s plans to increase the number of countries under the revised REFJA, how it intends to proactively reach out to other countries to obtain agreement on reciprocal recognition and enforcement of each other’s civil judgments for purposes of the consolidated REFJA?
Two, I would like to ask, specifically, what are some of the countries which Singapore expects to bring onboard the new REFJA regime in the near future.
Three, may I also ask the SMS, based on past experiences, what are the common factors preventing Singapore from reaching agreement with other jurisdictions on reciprocal recognition and enforcement of civil judgments and if so, how does the SMS expect that the Government will work towards overcoming these difficulties?
Four, in view of the desire for greater ASEAN integration and perhaps not entirely distinct from some of the ideas or the spirit behind the Model ASEAN Extradition Treaty, does the Government have any plan to work towards having reciprocal enforcement of civil judgments for all ASEAN countries? If not, does the SMS think that this is something that is workable at some point and what would be some of the challenges anticipated?
Mr Deputy Speaker, aside from clarifications, I support the bill.