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Core Agencies

The core agencies that provide us with the bulk of pro bono opportunities are
 

1. The Law Society of Singapore – Pro Bono Services Office (PBSO) which currently runs the:

Community Legal Clinics (CLCs)
Community Legal Clinics (CLCs) are a community outreach project by the Pro Bono Services Office and serve as a platform for individuals to seek free legal advice. Here, volunteers can observe lawyers dish out practical advice, and how the law unfolds and   affects one’s life. Volunteers would be required to assist with general administrative duties such as registration of applicants, and if the need arises, volunteers might be called upon to translate for the lawyers. CLC sessions are held in the evenings from 7.00 pm – 9.30 pm at North-West CDC at Woodlands on Mondays, South-East CDC at Paya Lebar on Tuesdays, South-West CDC at Jurong on Wednesdays and Central CDC at Toa Payoh on Thursdays.

 

PBSO two-weeks attachment (currently runs during the summer break and December holidays)

There are 2 programmes administered by the PBSO and volunteers will be attached to EITHER one of them, namely:

i)  Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS)

Volunteers will assist officers in conducting interviews at the PBSO, Remand Institution such as Changi Prison, Changi Women’s Prison, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore Boy’s Home and Singapore Girl’s Home. Apart from interviewing, volunteers will also assist the CLAS Officers in preparing case reports which include their recommendation on whether the applicant qualifies for legal aid. Occasionally, volunteers will be given the opportunity to be paralegals to assist CLAS lawyers in a trial.

ii)  Community Legal Clinics (CLCs)

Volunteers will participate in the screening and interviewing of applicants in person or over the phone. Duties will include preparation of brief summaries for cases that are being registered and assisting to roster the applicants for the community legal clinics. Volunteers will also sit in and take notes for lawyers giving advice at the legal clinics (Civil and Family Clinics). Volunteers will be rostered to be at the Community Justice Centre at the State Court to register applicants for clinics and to provide administrative support for the On-site Legal Assistance Scheme.

 

2. Community Justice Centre (CJC)

Court Facilitators Scheme

Founded as a community partnership between the Government, the philanthropic sector and the legal profession, including the Subordinate Courts (now known as State Courts) and the Law Society of Singapore, the Community Justice Centre (CJC) was incorporated in December 2012 as an integrated one-stop hub that provides a wide range of support services for the Litigant-in-Persons (LiPs).

Stationed in the Mentions Court, the Court Facilitator will be the first point of contact for court users. The role is to provide immediate support and guidance to the litigants (but not legal advice). This will include for example:

  • briefing the litigants and their family members about the processes and procedures;
  • explaining the court etiquette;
  • providing information on Pro Bono Schemes and liaise with PBSO if required;
  • referring the litigants to the HELP Centre if they need further assistance;
  • explaining the next step to the accused and the family members after judgment; 
  • assisting the family members of the accused by providing information and guidance for the payment of fine;
  • liaising with courts in relation to family contact with the remandees;
  • collecting feedback from the service users.
     

3. Legal Aid Bureau

Legal Aid Bureau (LAB) handles cases that fall under the jurisdiction of the Singapore Courts and tribunals where legal representation is allowed. Cases such as:

  • Divorce
  • Variation or Enforcement of Court orders on ancillary matters in divorce
  • Adoption
  • Custody of children
  • Monetary claim
  • Claim for compensation in injury or medical negligence cases
  • Estate matter

This project calls for volunteers who are able to commit to five sessions of 4-hours each. They organize regular clinics where students are asked to provide assistance to lawyers who may be covering duties such as:

  • Legal Advice – Oral advice by LAB lawyers on questions of Singapore law and the practical steps one may take in the circumstances of the case.
  • Legal Aid – Representations by a legal aid lawyer in civil proceedings in the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the District Courts, the Magistrates’ Courts, the Syariah Court as well as proceedings under the Women’s Charter.
  • Legal Assistance – Drafting of various legal documents including Deeds of separation and Deeds of severance of cohabitation.

 

​4. Community Mediation Unit

The Community Mediation Unit (CMU), a department under the Ministry of Law, oversees the Community Mediation Centres (CMCs). Established in 1998, the CMCs’ role is to provide mediation services to the public so as to cultivate a more harmonious, civil and gracious society. The CMCs act as a neutral platform for residents in Singapore to resolve relational, community and social disputes amicably without resorting to litigation in the Courts.

A study of mediation concepts, principles and goals reveals features that mirror closely to traditional Asian philosophy and practices. CMCs often compare the mediation process to the traditional “kampong style” approach of resolving problems through informal channels with the aid of respected third parties. The kampong ketua, the elder in village communities of old, performed a mediatorial role between squabbling neighbours. Such activities promoted strong community cohesion.

Last updated on 29 Jun 2016 .