Skip to content Skip to navigation

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)

On-Site Legal Advice Scheme (OSLAS) @ State Courts#

OSLAS @ State Courts is a collaboration between the SMU Pro Bono Centre and the Community Justice Centre. It operates as a walk-in legal clinic within State Courts, providing legal advice on the spot, without requiring applicants to wait for lengthy time periods. Students will assist on-duty lawyers with the following duties:

  • Note-taking
  • Filing of application forms
  • Translation (if required)
  • Ushering of applicants

    # SMU-exclusive pro bono placement 

 

On-Site Legal Advice Scheme (OSLAS) @ Supreme Court#

OSLAS @ Supreme Court is a collaboration between the SMU Pro Bono Centre and the Community Justice Centre. It operates as a walk-in legal clinic within Supreme Court, providing legal advice on the spot, without requiring applicants to wait for lengthy time periods. Students will assist on-duty lawyers with the following duties:

  • Note-taking
  • Filing of application forms
  • Translation (if required)
  • Ushering of applicants

    # SMU-exclusive pro bono placement 

 

University Court Friends (UCF) programme

UCF – Crime Division: 

Volunteers will assist with duties at the Bail Centre, the Criminal Court and the Magistrate’s Complaint in the State Courts. At the Bail Centre, volunteers will be taught the bail process and thereafter, provide information on the process and conduct interview with the bailors to determine their suitability. At the Criminal Court, volunteers will assist Court officers with their duties and consequently, provide information on the process to AiPs and / or their family members when necessary. Volunteers will also receive directions from the Judge to refer AIPs and / or their family members to the appropriate agencies for further assistance. Volunteers could also attend a surety hearing at 1500h every Wednesday. At the Magistrate’s Complaint, volunteers will be taught the complaint process and thereafter, provide explanation on the process and assist complainants with drafting of their complaints.

UCF – Civil Division: 

Volunteers will assist with duties at the Civil Legal Clinic and the Small Claims Tribunals. At the Civil Legal Clinic, volunteers will assist lawyers with on-site research and note taking during the legal consultation. Volunteers will also attend one session of the Civil Legal Clinic from 1830h to 2000h on Thursday. At the Small Claims Tribunals, volunteers will be taught the mediation process and procedure for claimants to file for claim(s). Thereafter, volunteers will provide explanation on the process and assist LiPs with filing of their claims via the CJTS (https://www.statecourts.gov.sg/CJTS/). Volunteers will also guide LiPs on usage of the queue management system and provide information on the documentary requirements for consultation (e.g. uploading of LOA, ACRA, etc.) when necessary. In addition, volunteers will be given the opportunity to sit in for mediation / consultation sessions.

UCF – Family Division: 

Volunteers will assist with duties at the Divorce Registry, the Family Court, the Family Legal Clinic and the Family Protection Centre in the Family Justice Courts. At the Divorce Registry, volunteers will be taught the divorce proceedings and thereafter, provide information on form filling and Court procedures to LiPs. At the Family Court, volunteers will receive directions from the Judge to refer LiPs to the appropriate agencies for further assistance and to provide information on Court procedures, including documentary requirements, when necessary. Volunteers will also attend one session of the Family Legal Clinic where volunteers will assist lawyers with on-site research and note taking during the legal consultation. At the Family Protection Centre, volunteers will assist Court staff with their duties (assessment of PPO cases) and consequently, provide information on the process when necessary. Volunteers will also guide LiPs on the usage of iFAMS (https://ifams.gov.sg/) at the self-help kiosks.

UCF – Maintenance Division: 

Volunteers will assist with duties at the Family Court, the Family Legal Clinic, the Maintenance Mediation Chambers and the Maintenance Registry. At the Family Court, volunteers will receive directions from the Judge to refer LiPs to the appropriate agencies for further assistance and to provide information on Court procedures, including documentary requirements, when necessary. Volunteers will also attend one session of the Family Legal Clinic where volunteers will assist lawyers with on-site research and note taking during the legal consultation. The Family Legal Clinic is from 1800h to 1930h every Tuesday. At the Maintenance Mediation Chambers, volunteers will assist Court staff with their duties and provide explanation on documentary requirements for further mediation. At the Maintenance Registry, volunteers will assist CJC officers with their duties and thereafter, provide information on the Court procedures for new maintenance and enforcement of the maintenance order. Volunteers will also assist LiPs with their maintenance application via the iFAMS (https://ifams.gov.sg/). 

 

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 8-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 02 Jan 2018 .