Delivered in Parliament on 2 November 2020
Mr Deputy Speaker, sir, before I start, let me first declare my interest as a Notary Public. As a Notary Public myself, I have long wondered why Singapore has hitherto not been a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents and I certainly support this Bill.
I note the transfer of existing legalization or apostille responsibility from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) and that pursuant to this Bill, once passed, the SAL will be the body issuing the relevant certificate. I have some concerns whether this will lead to any increase of the fees which are currently being charged by the MFA for apostille-related legalization of documents.
I say this bearing in mind that in October last year, the SAL made it mandatory for all documents requiring notarization to be accompanied by a notarial certificate which would in turn be required to be authenticated by SAL and there were new mandatory authentication fees chargeable for all documents to be notarised.
While the intention for authentication is good and understandable, the change in the requirements resulted in additions to the process and paperwork and additional charges to businesses and individuals.
I would like to seek the minister’s assurance that with the passing of this Bill, SAL will not increase the fees which are currently being charged by the MFA in respect of any apostille certification charges. Thank you.