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Contents

Long Title

Part I GENERAL PROVISIONS OF INTERPRETATION

Part II GENERAL PROVISIONS REGARDING WRITTEN LAW

Part III SUBSIDIARY LEGISLATION

Part IV POWERS AND APPOINTMENTS

Part V PENAL PROVISIONS

Part VA PROVISIONS RELATING TO COURT PROCEEDINGS

Part VI MISCELLANEOUS

Legislative History

Comparative Table

 
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Interpretation Act
(CHAPTER 1)

(Original Enactment: Act 10 of 1965)

REVISED EDITION 2002
(31st December 2002)
An Act to define certain terms and expressions used in written law and to make provision for the construction, interpretation and publication of written law and for matters connected therewith.
[28th December 1965]
Short title
1.  This Act may be cited as the Interpretation Act.
PART I
GENERAL PROVISIONS OF INTERPRETATION
Interpretation of certain words and expressions
2.
—(1)  In this Act, and in every written law enacted before or after 28th December 1965, the following words and expressions shall, without prejudice to anything done prior to that date, have the meanings respectively assigned to them unless there is something in the subject or context inconsistent with such construction or unless it is therein otherwise expressly provided:
“abet”, with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, has the same meaning as in the Penal Code (Cap. 224);
“Accountant-General” means the Accountant-General of Singapore;
“act”, in relation to an offence or civil wrong, includes a series of acts, and words which refer to acts done shall be construed as extending to illegal omissions;
“Act” or “Act of Parliament” means an Act of the Parliament of Singapore and includes any Ordinance or Act of Singapore or Malaysia having the force of law in Singapore; and “Act”, when used in any subsidiary legislation, means the Act under the authority of which the subsidiary legislation was made;
“advocate” and “advocate and solicitor” mean an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court;
“animal” includes bird, reptile, fish and every kind of vertebrate animal and the young thereof;
“appoint” includes re-appoint;
“Attorney-General” means the Attorney-General of Singapore;
“Auditor-General” means the Auditor-General of Singapore;
“Cabinet” means the Cabinet constituted under the Constitution;
“Chief Justice” means the Chief Justice of Singapore;
“citizen of Singapore” means any person who, under the provisions of the Constitution, has the status of a citizen of Singapore;
“civil list” means the provision made under the Constitution for the maintenance of the President;
“commencement”, in relation to an Act, means the time at which the Act comes into operation in Singapore;
“common law” means the common law in so far as it is in operation in Singapore and any custom or usage having the force of law in Singapore;
“Commonwealth” or “British Commonwealth” means collectively the Commonwealth countries and includes any colony, protectorate or protected state or any other territory administered by any Commonwealth country;
“Commonwealth country” means any country recognised by the President to be a Commonwealth country, and “part of the Commonwealth” means any Commonwealth country, any colony, protectorate or protected state or any other territory administered by the government of any Commonwealth country;
“Consolidated Fund” means the Consolidated Fund established by the Constitution;
“Constitution” means the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore;
“consular officer” means consul-general, consul, vice-consul, consular agent and any person for the time being authorised to discharge the duties of consul-general, consul, vice-consul or consular agent;
“contravene”, in relation to a provision of a written law, includes a failure to comply with a requirement or condition in that provision;
“court” means any court of competent jurisdiction in Singapore;
“Crown Agents” means the persons for the time being acting as Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administrations in the United Kingdom;
“Deputy Speaker” means the Deputy Speaker of Parliament elected under the Constitution;
“District Court” means any District Court constituted under any written law for the time being in force relating to the courts;
“District Judge” means a District Judge appointed as such under any written law for the time being in force relating to the courts;
“export”, with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, means to take or cause to be taken out of Singapore by land, sea or air;
Gazette” or “Government Gazette” means the Gazette published in electronic or other form by order of the Government and includes any supplement thereto and any Gazette Extraordinary so published;
“Government” means the Government of Singapore;
“Government Printer” includes any printer purporting to be the printer authorised to print Acts and other documents of the Government;
“High Court” means the High Court constituted under any written law for the time being in force relating to the courts;
“immovable property” includes land, benefits to arise out of land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth;
“import”, with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, means to bring or cause to be brought into Singapore by land, sea or air;
“Judge” means a Judge of the High Court and includes any person appointed to exercise the powers of a Judge;
“Judge of the Supreme Court” includes the Chief Justice, a Judge of Appeal and a Judge of the High Court;
“legislature”, in relation to any part of the Commonwealth, means the authority competent to make laws for that part of the Commonwealth;
“Magistrate” means a Magistrate appointed as such under any written law for the time being in force relating to the courts;
“Malaya” means Singapore and the States of Malaya;
“Malaysia” means the Federation known as Malaysia;
“Malaysian citizen” or “Federal citizen” means any person who is a citizen of Malaysia by virtue of the provisions of any law for the time being in force, or any instrument for the time being having the force of law, in Malaysia;
“master”, in relation to a ship, means any person, except a pilot or harbour master, having for the time being control or charge of the ship;
“Minister” means the Minister for the time being charged with the responsibility for the department or subject to which the context refers;
“monogamous marriage” means a marriage which is recognised by the law of the place where it is contracted as a voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others during the continuance of the marriage;
“month” means calendar month;
“movable property” means property of every description except immovable property;
“national language” means the Malay language;
“oath” and “affidavit”, in the case of persons for the time being allowed by law to affirm or declare instead of swearing, include affirmation and declaration, and “swear” in the like case includes affirm and declare;
“Ordinance” means any Ordinance of Singapore, and includes any Ordinance of the Colony of the Straits Settlements, any Ordinance of the Colony of Singapore or of the State of Singapore and any Proclamation having the force of law in Singapore; and “Ordinance” when used in any subsidiary legislation means the Ordinance under the authority of which the subsidiary legislation was made;
“Parliament” means the Parliament of Singapore;
“person” and “party” include any company or association or body of persons, corporate or unincorporate;
“police officer” means any member of the Singapore Police Force;
“prescribed” means prescribed by the Act in which the word occurs or by any subsidiary legislation made thereunder and, in relation to forms, includes being set out in electronic form on an electronically accessible server (such as an internet website) that is specified in the Act or subsidiary legislation in which the word occurs;
“President” means the President of Singapore and includes any person for the time being performing the functions of the President under the provisions of the Constitution;
“public holiday” means any day which is declared to be or proclaimed as a public holiday or which under any written law is to be observed as a public holiday in Singapore;
“public officer” means the holder of any office of emolument in the service of the Government;
“public seal” means the public seal of Singapore;
“public service” means service under the Government;
“Public Service Commission” means the Public Service Commission constituted under the provisions of the Constitution;
“registered”, in relation to a document, means registered under the provisions of any written law for the time being applicable to the registration of such document;
“repeal” includes rescind, revoke, cancel or replace;
“Rules of Court”, in relation to any court, means rules made by the authority having for the time being power to make rules or orders regulating the practice and procedure of such court, together with the forms necessary thereto;
“Secretary to the Cabinet” means the Secretary to the Cabinet appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution;
“ship” includes every description of vessel used in navigation not exclusively propelled by oars or paddles;
“sign”, with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, with reference to a person who is unable to write his name, includes “mark” with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions;
“Singapore” means the Republic of Singapore and shall be deemed to include the Island of Singapore and all islands and places which on 2nd June 1959 were administered as part of Singapore and all territorial waters adjacent thereto;
“Solicitor-General” means the Solicitor-General of Singapore;
“Speaker” means the Speaker of Parliament elected in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution;
“States of Malaya” means —
(a)
the States of Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Trengganu; and
(b)
every Federal Territory which before its establishment was part of the territory of any State referred to in paragraph (a),
which constitute part of Malaysia;
“statutory declaration”, if made —
(a)
in Singapore, means a declaration made under the Oaths and Declarations Act (Cap. 211);
(b)
in the United Kingdom or any part of the Commonwealth other than in Singapore, means a declaration made before a justice of the peace, notary public or other person having authority therein under any law for the time being in force to take or receive a declaration;
(c)
in any other place, means a declaration made before a consul or vice-consul or before any person having authority under any law for the time being in force to take or receive a declaration;
“subsidiary legislation” means any order in council, proclamation, rule, regulation, order, notification, by-law or other instrument made under any Act, Ordinance or other lawful authority and having legislative effect;
“Supreme Court” means the Supreme Court of Singapore constituted under any written law for the time being in force relating to the courts and includes the High Court;
“United Kingdom” means Great Britain and Northern Ireland;
“value”, in relation to a suit, means the value of the subject-matter of the suit;
“vessel” includes floating craft of every description;
“will” includes a codicil;
words importing the masculine gender include females;
words in the singular include the plural and words in the plural include the singular.
“writing” and expressions referring to writing include printing, lithography, typewriting, photography and other modes of representing or reproducing words or figures in visible form;
“written law” means the Constitution and all previous Constitutions having application to Singapore and all Acts, Ordinances and enactments by whatever name called and subsidiary legislation made thereunder for the time being in force in Singapore;
“Yang di-Pertuan Agong” means the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or Supreme Head of Malaysia and includes the Deputy Supreme Head of Malaysia or a Ruler of a Malay State, whenever he is lawfully exercising the functions of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong;
“year” means a year reckoned according to the Gregorian calendar.
[14/69; 11/91; 16/93; 7/97; 25/98; 28/2000]
(2)  Where a word or expression is defined in a written law, then, unless the contrary intention appears, other parts of speech and grammatical forms of that word or expression, and cognate expressions, have corresponding meanings in that law.
[28/2000]
(3)  In every written law enacted before 28th December 1965 —
(a)
references to the Colony of the Straits Settlements, the Settlement of Singapore, the Colony of Singapore, the Colony, the State of Singapore or the State, shall be construed as references to Singapore;
(b)
references to the Federated Malay States shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be construed as references to the States of Malaya;
(c)
references to the Governor of the Malayan Union shall be construed as references to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong;
(d)
references to the Malayan Union shall be construed as references to Malaysia or the territories comprised therein, as the case may require;
(e)
references to the Chief Justice or to any court, judge or magistrate of the Malayan Union or of the Federated Malay States or of any of the Malay States shall be construed as references to the Chief Justice or to the corresponding court, judge or magistrate of Malaysia or the territories comprised therein, as the case may require;
(f)
references to any officer of, or authority or body constituted in or for, the Federated Malay States, any Malay State or the Malayan Union shall be construed as references to the corresponding officer of, or authority or body constituted in or for, Malaysia or the territories comprised therein, as the case may require;
(g)
references to the Assembly or the Legislative Assembly shall be construed as references to the Parliament;
(h)
references to the Yang di-Pertuan Negara shall be construed as references to the President;
(i)
references to the Federal Minister shall be construed as references to the appropriate Minister of Singapore;
(j)
references to the State Advocate-General shall be construed as references to the Attorney-General;
(k)
references to the High Court in Singapore shall be construed as references to the High Court of Singapore; and
(l)
references to a Judge of the High Court and the Registrar of the High Court shall be construed as references to a Judge of the Supreme Court and the Registrar of the Supreme Court, respectively.
(4)  In every written law enacted before or after 26th January 1996, references to the Rules of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court Rules, the Rules of the Subordinate Courts or the Subordinate Courts Rules, shall be construed as references to the Rules of Court.
[4/96]
(5)  Where an Act authorises or requires any document to be served by post, whether the word “serve”, “give” or “send” or any other word is used, then, unless a contrary intention appears, the service shall be deemed to be effected by properly addressing, prepaying and posting a letter containing the document, and, unless the contrary is proved, shall be deemed to have been effected at the time at which the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.
(6)  Where a Gazette is published in more than one form, the date of publication of that Gazette shall be deemed to be the date that Gazette is first published in any form.
[25/98]
Criteria for determining death
2A.
—(1)  For all purposes, a person has died when there has occurred either —
(a)
irreversible cessation of circulation of blood and respiration in the body of the person; or
(b)
total and irreversible cessation of all functions of the brain of the person.
[22/98]
(2)  The determination of the irreversible cessation of circulation of blood and respiration in the body of a person shall, subject to subsection (5), be made in accordance with the ordinary standards of current medical practice.
[22/98]
(3)  The determination of the total and irreversible cessation of all functions of the brain of a person shall, subject to subsections (4) and (6), be made in accordance with the prescribed criteria.
[22/98]
(4)  Except in the circumstances referred to in subsection (6), the determination of the total and irreversible cessation of all functions of the brain of a person shall be certified in the prescribed form by 2 medical practitioners —
(a)
at least one of whom has not been involved in the care or treatment of the person so certified; and
(b)
who possess the prescribed postgraduate medical qualifications.
[22/98]
(5)  If the death of a person from whose body an organ is to be removed after his death as authorised under the Human Organ Transplant Act (Cap. 131A) or the Medical (Therapy, Education and Research) Act (Cap. 175) is determined by the irreversible cessation of circulation of blood and respiration in the body of that person, his death shall be certified in the prescribed form by 2 medical practitioners —
(a)
who have not been involved in the care or treatment of the person so certified;
(b)
who do not belong to the team of medical practitioners which will effect the removal of the organ from the body;
(c)
who have not been involved in the selection of the proposed recipient of the organ; and
(d)
who will not be involved in the care or treatment of the proposed recipient of the organ during his hospitalisation for the purpose of the transplant.
[22/98]
(6)  If the death of a person from whose body an organ is to be removed after his death as authorised under the Human Organ Transplant Act (Cap. 131A) or the Medical (Therapy, Education and Research) Act (Cap. 175) is determined by the total and irreversible cessation of all functions of the brain of that person, his death shall be certified in the prescribed form by 2 medical practitioners —
(a)
who have not been involved in the care or treatment of the person so certified;
(b)
who do not belong to the team of medical practitioners which will effect the removal of the organ from the body;
(c)
who have not been involved in the selection of the proposed recipient of the organ;
(d)
who will not be involved in the care or treatment of the proposed recipient of the organ during his hospitalisation for the purpose of the transplant; and
(e)
who possess the prescribed postgraduate medical qualifications.
[22/98]
(7)  The Minister may, for the purposes of all laws or any specified written law, by regulations prescribe —
(a)
the criteria for determining the total and irreversible cessation of all functions of the brain of a person referred to in subsections (1)(b) and (3); and
(b)
the postgraduate medical qualifications and form of the death certificate for the purposes of subsection (4), (5) or (6).
[22/98]
(8)  Nothing in this section shall —
(a)
affect the operation of section 110 of the Evidence Act (Cap. 97) (burden of proving that a person is alive who has not been heard of for 7 years), section 100 of the Women’s Charter (Cap. 353) (proceedings for interim judgment of presumption of death and divorce) or any other written law relating to the presumption of death;
(b)
prevent the certification or determination of death in a case where the body of a person is not found or recovered.
[22/98]
(9)  In this section, “medical practitioner” means a person who is registered, or deemed to be registered, as a medical practitioner under the Medical Registration Act (Cap. 174).
[22/98]