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Southeast Asian Region Countries Law

Finding Treaties

Treaties to which Singapore is a party can be found in the Government Gazette, the Singapore Treaties Database on LawNet (not an official treaty series), and the official UN Treaty Series Online. Please note that for citation purposes, use the UN Treaty Series, if the treaty is part of that series. For more information on citing treaties in accordance with AGLC, see the Citing Treaties - AGLC4 Style box on the Treaties page of our Public International Law Guide.

Government Gazette 

Ratified treaties are published in the Government Gazette. The eGazette is published daily and is available on open access for 5 days - see current notices for newly ratified treaties. Access to older Gazettes requires a subscription to the Gazette Archive. We do not have a subscription.

Singapore Treaties Database (UniMelb staff & student access)

This database is maintained by the Attorney-General´s Chambers. It contains records and the full text of bilateral and multilateral treaties to which Singapore is a party. The Treaties Database is available on LawNet, to which we subscribe. Note that this is NOT an official treaty series. There is no browse option, so you need to use the search function. To find treaties:

On the Home page, type the title or number of treaty you want into the search box, and then tick the Other and Treaties boxes. If you're not sure of the exact title or treaty number, simply type treaty into the search box, and tick the Other and Treaties boxes. This will list all treaties to which Singapore is a party.

You can then narrow the search by year concluded and treaty type, or search keywords.

United Nations Treaty Series Online (open access)

The UN Treaty Series Online is the official treaty series. The database contains all bilateral and multilateral treaties deposited with the United Nations. You can search for a treaty, or see all Singaporean treaties by selecting 'Participant' from the top menu, then selecting 'Singapore' from the dropdown 'Filter' menu. Another participant can be added.

The treaties can be sorted by title, conclusion date, date of entry into force, and type (bilateral or multilateral).

Click on the 'See Details'; link of a treaty to see full treaty information, including the UNTS volume, if there is one.

On the details page, click the 'Text Document' or 'Volume in PDF' link to link to the full-text official treaty.

Treaties and their Effect on Domestic Law

The Constitution is silent on the incorporation of treaties domestic law. It is clear, however, that Singapore has a dualist system with respect to the domestic application of treaties. This means that treaties must be incorporated into the domestic laws of Singapore by the Legislature to have legal effect (Yong Vui Kong v Public Prosecutor [2015] 2 SLR 1129, [2015] SGCA 11 [28]–[29] (Court of Appeal). 

Source:  The Singapore Legal System by Damien Chng and Jack Tsen-Ta Lee

Note: Yong Vui Kong v Public Prosecutor contains an extensive discussion of the domestic application of both treaties (paras 29, 40-53) and customary international law, in particular peremptory norms (paras 26-39 under the heading Jus Cogens).

For a detailed scholarly discussion of the relationship between international law and domestic law, see Siyuan Chen, 'The Relationship between International Law and Domestic Law: Yong Vui Kong v PP [2010] 3 SLR 489 [Case Note]' (2011) 23(1) Singapore Academy of Law Journal 350-366 (open access).

See also Singapore Law Watch's chapter on Singapore and International Law (open access), which provides a good overview of Singapore's engagement with international law-making, with an emphasis on the work of the Singapore courts. This chapter includes a detailed section on treaty-making and incorporation of treaties into domestic law, and judicial review of treaties that have been incorporated through domestic legislation, as well as judicial consideration of treaty obligations that have not been so incorporated. The chapter also considers the judicial approach to customary international law, noting 'Singapore courts have generally adhered to common law orthodoxy in approaching customary rules of international law; namely, that customary international law may be invoked in the Singapore courts as part of the common law'. Case law is referred to throughout this chapter.   

Human Rights Treaties Adherence

Of the nine major human rights conventions, Singapore has ratified four: ICERD, CEDAW, CRPD, and CRC and one of its two Optional Protocols - OP-CRC-AC. 

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) Project website includes information on the international human rights and humanitarian treaties and regional treaties to which Singapore is a party. This information includes relevant reservations, derogations and declarations. The website notes that 'Singapore is a party to relatively few human rights and humanitarian law treaties. It has not ratified the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions or the 1998 Statute of the International Criminal Court'.

Please note that this website, whilst very useful, is somewhat dated and no longer updated. To check the current status of all human rights and related treaties to which Singapore is a party, use the official UN Treaties Series Online website (see box to the left for details).