Specialist Insight Series: The Future Family Law : A Paradigm Shift (15 June)
Mediation is increasingly being utilised as the primary, and preferred, means of resolving family disputes.
It was recently reported by the Ministry of Law that nearly 90% of divorce cases referred to mediation at the Family Justice Courts were partly or fully settled, an increase from 85% in 2017. The recommendations made by the Committee to Review and Enhance Reforms in the Family Justice System (RERF Committee) included suggestions to encourage counselling and mediation before parties file for divorce and to certify and accredit family practitioners. The Honourable Justice Debbie Ong, Presiding Judge of the Family Justice Courts, highlighted in her Opening Address to the Family Justice Practice Forum 2019 and in the Family Justice Courts Workplan Seminar 2020 the need to build on the role and capacity of family lawyers, including the importance of integrating legal services with support services.
An integral part of legal practice for family law practitioners must therefore mean the knowledge and ability to navigate not just the familiar waters of adversarial adjudicatory system but also the brave new world of a collaborative conciliatory process in partnership with other support professionals such as child development experts, mental health professionals and financial professionals.
In this seminar, we bring together a team of professionals in family law, mediation, counselling and psychology to share their views on the evolving nature of the family law practitioner. Presiding Judge of the Family Courts, Justice Debbie Ong, will be giving the Opening Remarks for the session. Join us as we map out a possible future set of key competencies of the new family lawyer.
SAL Annual Review 2019 On Family Law (1 July)
In 2019, the Singapore courts released decisions featuring an interesting blend of international elements. The Court of Appeal adjudicated its first case on financial relief consequential on foreign divorces and the High Court released a decision on sham marriages to obtain an immigration advantage. It is evident that local family law is evolving to cater to the needs of an increasingly globalized community in Singapore.
The division of matrimonial assets is another area of family law which evolved in 2019. The applicability of the structured approach set out in ANJ v ANK  4 SLR 1043 has generated much discussion amongst practitioners and academics alike. In connection with this, there has been a judicial push towards equal division in long marriages and clarification on the utility of the structured approach.
Join Ms Tricia Ho, Lecturer, Singapore University of Social Sciences, District Judge Yarni Loiand District Judge Suzanne Chin in an informative and engaging dialogue on the key legal developments in family law in 2019.
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