Hougang resident need not pay Attorney-General's legal costs
The Hougang resident who brought the issue of the Hougang by-election to court will NOT have to pay legal costs, even though she lost her bid.
A High Court Judge has ruled that no costs need to be paid by either party, given the "unusual circumstances" of the case.
The Attorney General had sought $10,000 in costs from Madam Vellama Marie Muthu.
She was unsuccessful in her bid earlier this year, to get the court to declare that the prime minister does not have "unfettered discretion" in deciding on whether and when to call by-elections.
The court said while costs are generally awarded to the successful party, public interest considerations are relevant in this case.
It said the case raised questions "of general public importance", and this is seen in the extensive debates by Members of Parliament in Parliament and the media.
Judge Philip Pillai also said Madam Vellama did not have a private interest in the question of filling vacant MP seats.
Assistant Professor of Law at the Singapore Management University, Jack Lee, says it's a significant judgment.
"It may encourage people to be more proactive in seeking the assistance of the court in clarifying points of law that have not yet been ruled on by the courts. This will certainly encourage civil society to consider suitable cases where the law needs to be clarified."
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