Our new Attorney General, VK Rajah, chaired this dialogue between local and international legal experts, including experienced professionals who have done international comparisons of legal systems. It is really enlightening on the legal system (or eco-system) in Singapore. Singapore scores badly in the category of "the right to representation", as Mr Michael Hwang asked,
"You know, we score very lowly in that regard [right to representation], so I wondered whether the fact that Singapore does not have a mandatory system to provide for criminal legal aid was factored into the Index in some way...So it is taken as a given that the right to criminal aid is an integral part of the rule of law?'
To which Mr Mark Agrast replied,
"Yes, not just the right to representation but to effective representation. That’s a big problem in the U.S. It’s a big problem in many developed countries, particularly in capital cases. The Index seeks to evaluate the quality of representation, not simply the fact that someone who can represent the accused is appointed."
Many interesting ideas about the various aspects that should be considered in measuring the rule of law in a country are discussed in this recorded session, so do take a look! But of course, it takes a certain amount of patient reading to understand the full picture of what is being said, which is to be expected of any intelligent conversation of such a complex topic.