Singapore

The Republic of Singapore is renowned for its strict and disciplined criminal code. Offences such as spitting or chewing gum can result in a heavy fine and in extreme cases, jail time. Unlike Canada, Singapore places a large emphasis on the harshness of their criminal punishment in hopes to deter the public from committing similar crimes. A major difference between the Singaporean criminal code and the Canadian criminal code is the practice of capital punishment in Singapore. The Singaporean government believes that in order to deter future crimes from being committed, a serious penalty such as the death sentence is essential. Singapore follows the Penal code that was established in 1873 which outlines crimes that can result in capital punishment. Such crimes include:

  • Treason
  • Murder
  • Euthanasia for minors
  • Kidnapping in order to murder
  • Drug offences
  • Armed offences under the Arms Offences Act

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Norwegian Legal System

Background

The Norwegian legal system consists of four main tiers: The Supreme court which deals with appeals from lower levels, decisions made here cannot be appealed unless they violate human rights. There is only one supreme court, located in Oslo, Norway’s capital. Below this is the Court of Appeal, there are six of these courts in six districts. The court of Appeal deals with problems from lower level courts, decisions here can only be appealed at the Supreme Court. The second lowest level is the District court level, these courts are the first instance of criminal courts and deal with most cases in the system. The lowest level is the Conciliation boards, this is where civil cases are heard, it consists of three laymen and three either elected or appointed deputies from the municipality. Norway has long been regarded as the forefront of forward thinking legal systems, focusing on rehabilitation and reintegration, rather than making criminals pay for what they have done for society, they help them realize what they have done is wrong, as well as helping them become a part of society again. Inmates in Norway frequently can receive education, proper medical treatment, job training and experience, and a level of freedom that would likely frighten citizens in Canada and the US. Continue reading “Norwegian Legal System”

Bhutan’s Legal System

Background

The Bhutanese legal system, known as the Royal Courts of Justice, is a four-tiered court system consisting of a Supreme Court, the High Court, the Dzongkhag Courts and the Dunkhag Courts. There are no special jurisdiction courts or tribunals. Both civil and criminal trials in Bhutan are decided by one or more judges with no jury. After final appeal in the court system, the Code provides for appeal to the Druk Gyalpo. The legal system is based on English common law and Indian Law. Beginning at either the Dungkhag or Dzonkhag local district courts cases are first heard. Then, appeals may be made to a six-member High Court. From the High Court, a final appeal may be made to the king. Judges are appointed for life and there is no written constitution. Most criminal and civil matters are settled based on a 17th century legal code. Without any use of precedence, there is no consistency in the delivery of justice.

The Supreme Court is presided over by the Chief Justice of Bhutan. It has appellate, advisory and extra-territorial jurisdiction. Meaning when a particular case is not cover or is only partially covered by a law in force and is not otherwise excluded from adjudication, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over it. The Supreme Court currently is made up of the Chief Justice and three associate Justices. Continue reading “Bhutan’s Legal System”

Cuba

Background

  • Based on Spanish legal system
  • Adoption of new constitution in 1976 based on principle of socialist legality
  • Constitution amended in 2002 to make socialist system permanent and irrevocable

Key Legal Issues

  • No Miranda-type warning when arrested
  • No trial by jury
  • One professional judge and two lay judges in lower courts, three professional judges and two lay judges in higher courts
  • Cuba allows capital punishment, usually by firing squad
  • It is illegal for Cubans to leave the country or aid others in leaving without government permission

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Singapore

Background

Singapore was founded by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819; its legal system has roots in English law and practice.

Since self-governance in 1959 and independence from Malaysia in 1965, Singapore has developed its own legal system, establishing legislations and case laws accustomed to its social and economic circumstances.

However, there is one inherited British Legal foundation that remains intact: common law.

  • Singapore inherited the English common law traditions, especially in contract, tort, and restitution.

The Singapore legal system includes the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary.

The Legislature comprises the parliament and an elected president and is in charge of enacting laws of the land.

Singapore is known for its low crime rates and relatively strict laws.

  • For example, no gum is allowed to be brought in or sold in Singapore, and there is a $700 fine for spitting gum out on streets.

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Saudi Arabia

Background

  • The legal code is influenced by Shari’a Law, which is the body of Islamic law.
  • Public and some private aspects of life are regulated such as daily routines, familial or religious obligations, and financial dealings
  • Marriage and divorce are the most significant aspects of Shari’a, while criminal law remains to be the most controversial
  • There are three categories of offenses, the first being hudud offences (crimes against Allah –fornication, adultery, theft, alcohol drinking, intentional and voluntary killings, intentional and unintentional physical injuries, highway robbery) which are prescribed a mandatory punishment
  • Second are tazir offenses (minor felony or misdemeanor – usury, embezzlement, bribery, false testimony, nudity, seductive dressing, disobedience to a husband), that involve chastisement, but the punishment is up to the discretion of a judge, and may vary depending on who inflicts it and upon whom they are inflicting it
  • Lastly, qisas offenses (murder – premeditated or not, premeditated offenses against human life – short of murder, murder by error, and offenses by error against humanity – short of murder) involve seeking retribution or retaliation
  • Punishment by retribution is set by law, but the victim (or person by right of law) may accept blood money or financial compensation (diyah) instead
  • Penalties for offenses in Saudi Arabia due to Shari’a law range from financial compensation (blood money), flogging (lashes), banishment, public condemnation, reproach, warning, death sentence, and amputation

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Juvenile Capital Punishment

Background

Capital punishment, death penalty or execution is government-sanctioned punishment by death. The sentence is referred to as a death sentence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. Juvenile capital punishment is when a person who is younger then 18 is put on death row. To be considered a juvenile you must be under 18 when the crime was committed. This is becoming increasingly rare, with many countries abolishing it. Since 1990 the only countries that have carries out juvenile capital punishment are China, Congo, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, USA and Yemen. The case Thomas v Oklahoma 1988 abolished capital punishment for kids under the age of 16 as well as persons with mental disabilities. UN convention on rights of the child forbids capital punishment for juveniles, signed by all countries expect the USA and Somalia. The death penalty for juveniles has become contrary to costmary international law. Continue reading “Juvenile Capital Punishment”

Taiwan

Background

Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China, is located in East Asia. Many Taiwanese citizens clearly define themselves as Taiwanese, not Chinese. Mainly speaking Mandarin, Taiwan uses two official calendars: the Gregorian calendar and the Minguo calendar. The former is commonly used around the world, and the latter numbers the years starting from 1911, which makes 2016 the 105th year.

Contrary to common belief, Taiwan and mainland China have had its own distinct legal system. It is mainly based on the civil law system, which is codified into the six codes: the Constitution, the Civil Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, the Criminal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Administrative laws. The first is essentially the Three Principles of the People, which are Minzu (nationalism), Minquan (democracy), and Minsheng (livelihood of the people). The remainder are civil and commercial matters that involve relations among private parties, such as torts, property, family law, and contracts. Continue reading “Taiwan”

Tourism Laws for Cuba

Background

The Republic of Cuba is an island country in the Caribbean. It consists of the island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos, and is one of the world’s last remaining communist states. Cuba is a beautiful country and is most definitely a hotspot for Canadian and American travelers. With that in mind, while traveling to Cuba as a foreigner you must be very aware of the different laws as well as your personal safety abroad. Within this project, I will be covering the “Do’s and Don’ts” for young Canadian travelers and which laws and restrictions they must be aware of. Continue reading “Tourism Laws for Cuba”