Exclusion of judicial review in Singapore law
Exclusion of judicial review has been attempted by the Parliament of Singapore to protect the exercise of executive power. Typically, this has been done though the insertion of finality or total ouster clauses into Acts of Parliament, or by wording powers conferred by Acts on decision-makers subjectively. Finality clauses are generally viewed restrictively by courts in the United Kingdom. The courts there have taken the view that such clauses are, subject to some exceptions, not effective in denying or restricting the extent to which the courts are able to exercise judicial review. In contrast, Singapore cases suggest that ouster clauses cannot prevent the High Court from exercising supervisory jurisdiction over the exercise of executive power where authorities have committed jurisdictional errors of law, but are effective against non-jurisdictional errors of law.A partial ouster or time limit clause specifies a restricted period, after which no remedy will be available. Such clauses are generally effective, unless the public authority has acted in bad faith. Similarly, the existence of bad faith entitles applicants to challenge decisions of authorities despite the existence of statutory provisions declaring such decisions to be conclusive evidence of certain facts. In the absence of bad faith, the courts will enforce conclusive evidence clauses.In general, subjectively worded powers are also viewed restrictively by the Singapore courts. In Chng Suan Tze v. Minister for Home Affairs (1988), the Court of Appeal took the view that an objective test applied to the exercise of discretion conferred by the Internal Security Act (Cap. 143, 1985 Rev. Ed.) (""ISA"") on the President and the Minister for Home Affairs concerning the detention without trial of persons thought to be a risk to national security. Hence, the jurisdiction of the High Court was not completely ousted, and it could objectively examine whether the relevant decision-makers had exercised their powers properly. However, legislative amendments to the ISA in 1989 reversed the effect of Chng Suan Tze by mandating that the courts are to apply a subjective test to the exercise of the discretion, and by excluding judicial review except where there is doubt whether the procedures set out in the Act were adhered to. Nevertheless, the subjective test is only applicable in the context of the ISA, and the rule that an objective test applies to subjectively worded powers continues to apply where statutes other than the ISA are concerned.