Civil law is required when two parties seek legal assistance to settle a dispute rather than resort to criminal action. This area has grown to encompass a large variety of disputes given the new areas of global concern, for an instance, environmental ethics. In this process the one who files the complaint is referred to as the ‘plaintiff’ and the accused party is referred to as the ‘defendant’. For the defended to be proven guilty the plaintiff has to provide a ‘preponderance of evidence’ which is the equivalent of ‘proven beyond reasonable doubt’ used in criminal cases.
Before taking any case to courts a litigation lawyer would usually advise both parties to come to a settlement through arbitration. Arbitration is a much faster process where an arbitrator mediates a discussion between the two parties and consequently helps them come to an agreement without taking the issue up to a judge. The decision imposed by the arbitrator is enforceable in any court should further complications occur.
Given below are a few common types of civil litigation in Singapore.
A divorce is a legal procedure which must be followed to dissolve all legal bindings of matrimony. In most countries monogamy is the norm, hence a man or woman is entitled to a new spouse after a divorce. This procedure takes into account alimony, child support and custody, a suitable division of property. It must also be noted that these lawyers are advised to consider the sanctity of marriage during these procedures. That means if it seems that the grounds for requesting a divorce where decided on a whim or as a result of instant anger then the jury will most likely try to unite the couple based on human grounds.
The scope of this law is to ensure environmental conservation. Disputes regarding the disposal of hazardous waste, protection of wetlands and wildlife, air and water pollution, soil pollution, and much more are handled by these lawyers.
Legal advisors in this area are in demand due to the growing awareness sustainable practices and the concept of ‘going green’.
Employment law deals with issues like discrimination due to age, gender, skin colour, religion, sexual orientation and also unfair termination of work.
Intellectual property law
This law strives to offer protection of intellectual property. It deals with patenting, licensing, trademarks and copyrights, and eliminating unfair competition etc.
The scope of civil law is wide. The list included here touches on only a few of them. Due to the breadth of each speciality most lawyers specialise only in one or two areas.