Written Answer by Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on Legal Aid Means and Merit Tests
19 Feb 2018 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang (Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC)
To ask the Minister for Law for each year in the past five years, how many applicants applied for legal aid and of these applicants, how many failed at the stage of (i) the means test and (ii) the merits test.
The Legal Aid Bureau provides Legal Aid, Legal Advice, and Legal Assistance (e.g. drafting of wills) to lower income Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. Legal Advice and Legal Assistance applicants only need to pass the means test, while Legal Aid applicants have to pass both the means test and the legal merits test.
The data from 2013 to 2017 for those who applied for Legal Advice and Legal Assistance is set out in the following table:
Legal Advice and Assistance
|Number of applications||4,985||4,660||4,496||4,357||4,530|
|Number of applications which passed the preliminary means test||4,379||4,186||4,063||3,972||4,184|
|Number of applications which failed the preliminary means test||606||474||433||385||346|
|Percentage of applications which passed the preliminary means test||88%||90%||90%||91%||92%|
- The data from 2013 to 2017 for those who applied for Legal Aid is set out in the following table:
|Number of applications||5,072||4,982||4,858||4,603||4,482|
|Number of applications which passed the preliminary means test||4,741||4,557||4,336||4,256||4,116|
|Number of applications which failed the preliminary means test||331||425||522||347||366|
|Percentage of applications which passed the preliminary means test||93%||91%||89%||92%||92%|
|Number of applications which underwent the merits test[i]||1,891||1,931||1,463||1,700||1,706|
|Number of applications which passed the merits test||1,603||1,685||1,244||1,502||1,479|
|Number of applications which failed the merits test||288||246||219||198||227|
|Percentage of applications which passed the merits test||85%||87%||85%||88%||87%|
- The number of applications which went through the merits test is lower than the number of applications which passed the preliminary means test, because many applicants of Legal Aid who passed the preliminary means test subsequently withdrew their applications, became uncontactable, or were later found to be above means. Applicants with urgent cases may also have been assisted under a Provisional Grant of Aid before they went through the merits test.
Applications that underwent the merits test in a given year. Some of the applications may have undergone the means test in a preceding year. Hence, the figures are not strictly comparable to the means test figures.
Last updated on 20 Feb 2018