Most dictionaries would define an individual as a person existing as a distinct entity, possessing a personal set of needs, aspirations, and responsibilities. However, as individuals living in close proximity to one another, our daily lives are anything but distinct or segregated from those of our fellow Singaporeans. To fulfil the above outcomes in a complex environment, we need clearly defined rights enforced by a system of rules.
A legal system regulates human behaviour with the primary aim of defending notions of justice, equity, and peace. Hence, the rule of law permeates through every aspect of our lives, including economics, politics, and society. With recent challenges to the rule of law (both domestic and international aspects) emerging due to the worldwide rise of populism, it is perhaps timely to engage in meaningful conversations on the definition of the rule of law, and ways to advance it for the benefit of mankind.
We have named this issue Man and The Law, and are deeply honoured to have Minister Shanmugam, Minister for Law share his thoughts on Singapore's legal system in a foreword.
In examining the interplay between Law and Economics in Singapore, we were privileged to sit down for a chat with Mr Toh Han Li, Chief Executive of the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS), which administers and enforces the Competition Act, and administers the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act. Through this interview feature, readers can glean insights on CCCS's work in building a pro-competition environment in Singapore, and the interesting dynamics involved in balancing CCCS's twin roles in enforcement and advocacy.
The subsequent essays in this issue seek to understand the various perspectives surrounding the interplay of law and human behaviour in our society. In this issue's section on Education, we explore the usefulness of Cost-Benefit Analysis in guiding regulatory reform through the writing of Professor Euston Quah, President of the Economic Society of Singapore. Through the Perspective section, we also share how the staff of the Legal Aid Bureau balance the unbending nature of the law with its softer purpose through the compassionate practice of the law. The 2018 winning entries of the MAS-ESS Essay Competition and the CCCS-ESS Essay Competition bookend this issue, showcasing incisive analyses from our budding young authors. We wish all our readers a meaningful and satisfying reading experience.