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Features - A Web Guide to Free Legal and Compliance Resources on the Asia Pacific Region

By Jane Macoustra, Published on June 2, 2002

Jane Macoustra is the Assistant Vice President and Asia Pacific Regional Librarian and Information Officer of the Legal and Compliance Department at the Credit Suisse First Boston (Hong Kong) Limited. She has worked for Credit Suisse First Boston (Hong Kong) Ltd, Credit Suisse Financial Products, Credit Suisse First Boston (Europe) Ltd, Norton Rose and BP, and has over 20 years experience in Librarianship.


Table of Contents

Summary
Global Resources
Asia Pacific Country Guide
Australia
China, People's Republic (PRC)
Hong Kong
India
Indonesia
Japan
Korea
Malaysia
New Zealand
Philippines
Singapore
Taiwan
Thailand

Summary

I arrived in Hong Kong just over a year ago to set up a regional Asia Pacific Legal and Compliance Department (“LCD”) Library function for Credit Suisse First Boston (“CSFB”), based in Hong Kong.

While being familiar with obtaining research, case materials and information on English Law, Asia Pacific was an unknown entity. I already knew that the roots of Hong Kong’s Laws are based on the English system, but was unsure of the availability of electronic access for the rest of the region. The proprietary legal information vendors provide only a small amount of Asia Pacific legal and legislative information and virtually no regulatory information, and it is also an expensive way to obtain it. This has been an interesting exercise over the year with a few pleasant surprises on the road to discovering what is available for free that is reliable and well-informed content. The financial and regulatory web sites have proved to be valuable resources, with more information being made available than was expected, for no cost.

This article takes the reader through some of the best free resources where they are available, for legal and compliance information in the Asia Pacific region. Each country covers electronic resources for judicial, legislation, government, regulatory, and financial bodies that are available in the English Language. The sites have been specifically selected for accuracy, reliability and timeliness of information. There is a huge amount of information on the internet available at no cost from official government, legal, regulatory and financial bodies. Traditionally a library budget has always been tight, therefore using these free resources before going to a proprietary database will assist in maximizing the annual research expenditure available. “Where any wording is in quotation marks and italics, the text is the web site’s quoted description of itself.“

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Global Resources

An excellent resource that I use a lot, for legal update information, is from the International Law Office, (“ILO”), which provides a regular update service for all aspects of global law. The information is written and submitted to the ILO by external counsel, and while it does not constitute definitive legal advice, it is a reliable way to keep ahead of new developments in global law.

There are many university legal faculty web sites where there is usually a wealth of information to be found. A good example is the Washburn University School of Law Library (“WashLaw”), which supplies information about each country and has a list of useful links. The WashLaw site is updated regularly.

The Cornell University Legal Information Institute Databases: “The LII collection of world legal materials gathers, country by country, continent by continent, the Internet-accessible sources of the constitutions, statutes, judicial opinions, and related legal material from around the globe (excluding the U.S. material held in the LII's other collections). It also holds resources and document collections of International law”.

See also:

A User’s Guide is provided to enable a researcher to learn how to use the databases listed above. 

Try Global Diplomatic Posts – Global Embassies can be found from the Diplobel website.

The CIA World Fact Book 2001 – A good place for locating geographical, population, government, economic, communications, transport, military and trans-national issues.

Corruption Indices – Transparency International: “Transparency International, the only international non-governmental organisation devoted to combating corruption, brings civil society, business, and governments together in a powerful global coalition.” Transparency International publish an annual global corruption report on a country by country basis. The report is free and can be downloaded from the web site. Alternatively, the current report costs GBP20.00 in hard copy. Transparency International also publish a Corruption Perceptions Index which ranks 91 countries from 1-10 of perceived corruption, based on the findings of a set of surveys of officials and politicians for each country.

Doing Business Guides are another good place to locate country information. Try the Ernst & Young guides or PricewaterhouseCoopers guides.

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Asia Pacific Country Guide

The countries that I generally require information for are: Australia, China, People's Republic (PRC), Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand.

Australia

Judicial

Australasian Legal Information Institute (AUSTLII) is jointly produced by the University of Technology, Sydney Faculty of Law and the University of New South Wales Faculty of Law. The information provided is global and the World Law link provides a comprehensive listing by country and subject. The Australian case law and legislation is divided into its territories: Commonwealth, Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. Norfolk Island, East Timor, New Zealand and South Pacific are also included on this list.

Legislation

ScalePlus is currently in the process of removing all their databases except for the databases covering the Legislation of the Commonwealth and non-self governing Territories. They cite duplication from a number of other sources on the internet, as the reason for this.

ScalePlus provides full access to all the Commonwealth Acts, which are available in the PASTEACT database. The PASTEREG database contains the statutory rules.

Government

The Australian Commonwealth Government web site is a gold mine of information, ranging from the Australian Parliament to an Australian Law Online service by territory, Aboriginal land rights and an alphabetical listing of government web sites. The amount of information available is vast, but easy to access and with a logical link layout.

Regulatory

The Securities and Investment Commission administers laws relating to Corporations Act 2001 and the ASIC Law, which was replaced by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001. There is no direct access to them from the ASIC site, but they do direct you to the Scaleplus website where they are available for free. There is also detailed information on starting a company, investors and consumers, financial services, markets and corporate finance.

Australian - Prudential Regulatory Authority (“APRA”) is the prudential regulator for banks, insurance companies, superannuation funds, credit unions, building societies and friendly societies, and provides detailed information on authorized deposit-taking institutions, general insurance, superannuation, life insurance and friendly societies.

Financial

Australian Financial Markets Association “(AFMA) is the national industry body representing almost 200 organisations who participate in the Australian over-the-counter (OTC) wholesale financial markets. Formed in 1986 to streamline market practices and establish trading standards in OTC markets, AFMA is recognised as the peak representative body of OTC markets in Australia”. Membership is required for access the AFMA’s OTC documentation collection, however, there is other useful information available on the site that is free – including information on the Financial Services Reform Bill.

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China, People's Republic

Judicial

Chinalaw web is maintained by the University of Maryland School of Law, which is sponsored by the China Law Society. It is a one-stop shop for information relating to judicial, legislative and government information in the PRC. Of particular note is the section of papers describing Chinese law by geographic location. It covers the PRC, HKSAR, Taiwan and Macau.

Legislation

Within the pages of the Internet Chinese Legal Research Center you can gain access to PRC, HKSAR and Taiwan information. The Chinalaw information Service at Peking University provides free access to case law via LawinfoChina.com although the rest of the service is subscription-based. “This site intends to provide links to Chinese (Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong) legal resources on the Internet, legal research guides and other information related to Chinese legal research. “

The University of Hong Kong also provides access to an introduction to the Chinese Legal System via the isinolaw Research Centre.

Government

China’s Political System: “China's political system here refers to the political structure, fundamental laws, rules, regulations and practices that are implemented in China's mainland and regulate the state power, government, and the relationships between the state and society in the People's Republic of China since its founding in October 1949.” The information on this site gives a basic explanation on the systems for the constitution, people’s congress, the party in power, the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation, central and local administration, head of state, civil service, election, self-government of ethic autonomous areas and finally the special administrative regions (the “SAR”s).

Regulatory

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (“CSRC”) was formed in 1992 and is the executive branch of the State Council Securities Commission. The CSRC is responsible for securities supervision and regulation in China. The site contains information relating to the securities markets, including B shares and overseas listings. There is also access to The Securities Law of the People’s Republic of China, statistical data, other useful sites and a listing of other supervisory and government bodies. However not all the hyperlinks are currently working as the web site is under reconstruction.

Financial

The People’s Bank of China(“PBC”) is the central bank of the People's Republic of China. Its chief mandate is to formulate and implement monetary policy and supervise and regulate the financial industry.” The site contains information on the Govornor’s (sic) speeches, reports, statistics, rules and regulations, monetary policy and supervision, financial services and the currency. The search field is not very user-friendly and there is only access to seven regulations and rules.

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Hong Kong SAR

Judicial

The Court of Final Appeal. “The Court of Final Appeal is the highest appellate court in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It has jurisdiction in respect of matters conferred on it by the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance, Chapter 484 and by any other law.” The judgments on this site are available in English and Cantonese Chinese. The site is easy to navigate and loads easily.

The Hong Kong Legal Information Institute is a joint venture between the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law and AUSTLII. The site is a demonstration system and has not been fully launched – therefore the information is limited and not updated as often as it will be, once it is live. Keep an eye out for the launch.

Legislation

The Hong Kong Department of Justice provides the Bilingual Laws Information System – the database of the Laws of Hong Kong (BLIS). Access to all the Hong Kong Ordinances are available from this site. If you do not know the Ordinance number for a specific ordinance, there is an index that lists them.

Government

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Clear and concise information is provided from this web site in English and Cantonese Chinese. There are weather and traffic conditions, leisure and culture information here, as well as government information.

Regulatory

The Securities and Futures Commission web site contains an electronic investor resource centre, access to the Securities and Futures Ordinance, bills, legislation and codes, investor advice, intermediaries, licensing and investment products information, takeovers and mergers information, press releases, statistics and employment matters. The Commission has five executive directors, with four operating divisions: Supervision of Markets, Corporate Finance, Intermediaries and Investment Products and Enforcement. Additionally, these four are supported by a Legal Division.

Financial

The Hong Kong - Monetary Authority “(HKMA) was established on 1 April 1993 by merging the Office of the Exchange Fund with the Office of the Commissioner of Banking. Its main functions and responsibilities are governed by the Exchange Fund Ordinance and the Banking Ordinance and it reports to the Financial Secretary.” One excellent link on this site is a “virtual classroom”, where information is available on virtual exhibitions, interactive information and printed materials. Examples of what is available include “Derivatives in Plain Words” and “A Guide to Hong Kong Monetary and Banking Terms”.

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India

Judicial

Access to The Constitution of India in 22 chapters is available from the Indian Parliament website which is created by the National Informatics Centre. The Indian Judiciary website is informative and covers the court system by region.

Legislation

Access to legislation is also available from the Indian Judiciary website. The site also has access to the Cause list, which is a list of all the cases that will be heard in court the following day. JUDIS is the Judgment Information System, which contains judgments in full text of the Supreme Court, going back to 1950. India code (INCODIS) is currently under construction (see comments under INCODIS regarding use) and there is a court website section, court orders and COURTNIC, which provides case status information.

Indian Laws are also available from Vakilno1.com, which is an impressively simple site that contains a comprehensive list of Acts and Statutes. It is easy to use, but the documents do take a while to load up. Once the document opens, there is a contents page listing to each section of the Act. Vakilno describe themselves as: “We are a Delhi based online service offering you the convenience and quality of in-house and in-business legal consultancy service and other facilities in the field of law. Through our service, we give you the opportunity to get answers to all your legal questions for which you would not go to a lawyer”.

INCODIS – the India Code Information System This site is included in this paper not because it is good, but because it links from the Indian Judiciary web site. The search facility has not proved to be user-friendly, copies of some of the Bills have been placed on inappropriate backgrounds with inappropriate fonts and formats and the grammar and spelling of some of the text leaves a lot to be desired (see the “about India Code” page). The disclaimer states that the site is under construction – use with caution. There is a lot more development and improvement work required to bring it up to the same standard as the Indian Judiciary website.

Government

The Government of India website contains links to official web sites such as parliamentary, states, taskforces, councils and documents, banking, financial and insurance institution information. The links for each subject take you through to detailed information on your chosen subject.

Regulatory

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) contains Acts, rules and regulations, disclosure and investor protection, press releases, management powers and function, annual reports for SEBI, institutional and overseas investor and takeover information. There is a lot of unnecessary graphics movement on the home page, but the site is excellent.

Financial

The objective of the Reserve Bank of India is "…to regulate the issue of Bank Notes and keeping of reserves with a view to securing monetary stability in India and generally to operate the currency and credit system of the country to its advantage." This is a good web site with access to plenty of information, although the moving graphics are somewhat unnecessary for an official central banking body.

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Indonesia

Judicial, Legislation and Government

Internet Law Library – There are virtually no good resources available. Those located either did not have English language sections or they did not work properly because the links were broken or the pages would not load.

One site that did load is the subscription based Indobizlaw.com, A small selection of business legislation in English, is available for a price. “Indobizlaw is a unit of CommAsia Resources Pte Ltd, based in Singapore. Our goal is to provide a range of efficient, reliable and cost-effective electronic services which help English-speaking professionals to work more effectively with Indonesian business legislation. We provide first-rate English translations of Indonesian business legislation by ensuring that each translation is undertaken by an experienced lawyer who is fluent in both Indonesian and English. Each translation is then vetted by our principal consultant, Dr Benny Tabalujan, an associate professor in business law from the Nanyang Business School in Singapore, who is noted for his Indonesian law research.”

Regulatory

Indonesia - Capital Market Supervisory Agency (BAPEPAM Online). A clean-looking web site, but the site is not updated in English very often. The Indonesian version is current, however one would expect the whole of the site to be maintained in a timely fashion, because it is regulator for the Indonesian capital markets.

Financial

Bank Indonesia – “A new chapter in the history of Bank Indonesia as an independent central bank was initiated when a new Central Bank Act, the UU No. 23/1999 on Bank Indonesia, was enacted on May 17, 1999. The Act confers it the status and position as an independent state institution and freedom from interference by the Government or any other external parties.” There is access to some regulations from this site by year – but notably to publications such as the “Implementation of Know Your Customer Principles”. The regulation documents are unofficial translations but can be referred back to the central bank for clarification. There are also some good research reports and statistical information.

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Japan

Makoto Ibusuki’s knowledgeable article published recently in LLRX, is the ideal source for learning about Japanese legal information. It is the best resource that I have come across for Japan.

Judicial

The Supreme Court of Japan provides access to an overview of the judicial system, a virtual tour of the Supreme Court, a guide to court procedure, prominent judgments and the Justices of Japan.

Legislation

Much of what is available is written in Kanji, therefore, I find that the Mizuho Securities site has proved to be the most useful for the type of work that I undertake.

Government

The Organization of Japanese Central Government provides links to agencies, ministries and other government organizations. There is either an alphabetical list of all the organizations or there is a hierarchical tree, with a sub-category of the organizations under their parent body.

Regulatory

The Financial Services Agency website contains the latest press releases, information about money laundering, and links to other ministries and government locator services. The topics button takes you to a range of publications, statements and policy papers, including reports from the Bank for International Settlements (“BIS”).

The Ministry of Finance contains a large number of links to information regarding budget, tax policy, customs and tariff, Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs), fiscal investment and loans, property, international finance, financial system stabilization, policy research institute, statistics, periodicals and other links. Documentation is available in html or pdf format.

Financial

The Bank of Japan web site is uncluttered and loads up very quickly. Information is available about monetary policy, financial and payment systems, speeches, research papers, press releases and statistics.

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Korea

Judicial

Ministry of Justice, Republic of Korea: “The Ministry of Justice serves the people of the Republic by guarding and enforcing the Constitution and Laws of the Republic. In addition to rendering legal advice to the President, the Prime Minister, and other Ministries, the Ministry administers supervision over prosecution. It is also in charge of correctional and rehabilitative administration and immigration.” The web site’s “useful information” section contains information about laws, research data, books and publications. There are also information pages about the Ministry, Minister’s message, main function and help desk.

Legislation

Korean Law.com: This web site has been created by an American attorney, who is working in Korea. Although it is not an official web site, the creator, Young H Noh, has provided links to all Korean legal information that is available in English.

The Korea Legislation Research Instituteis a government- financed think tank established in July 1990 to systematically gather and manage information on Acts and subordinate statutes, and professionally survey and research legislation with the aim of assisting the national legislation policy, speedily and accurately disseminating information on Acts and subordinates statutes and enhancing the legal culture.” A subscription fee is required to use the service.

The Bank of Korea Act and the Enforcement Decree of the Bank of Korea Act are accessible from the Bank of Korea web site and both are available in English.

Government

The Korean Government site offers links to all the ministries, and includes a good description about the function of each one. The search field allows the user to search by title, content or site.

Regulatory

The Financial Supervisory Commission provides access to Financial Supervision and Reform in Korea 2001, which is their introductory document for the web site. There is also a section for rules and regulations for banking, non-banking, securities, insurance and accounting. In addition to press releases and statistics, information about the laws and decrees related to securities, the Financial Supervisory Commission and the enhanced protection for consumers of financial services are available.

Financial

The Bank of Korea site includes a newsletter update subscription service that will alert the subscriber each time the web site has new content. Access is also available to a number of economic papers, statements and reports that are available in pdf format.

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Malaysia

Judicial

Patience is a necessary requisite to load and open the Malaysian Judiciary homepage. There are descriptions about how the judiciary system works and profiles of the members of the judiciary. The Federal Court Library provides information regarding its own holdings, but there’s no access to this information for the external researcher.

Legislation

The Laws of Malaysia: The Acts can be searched alphabetically or by subject. However a subscription is required so that copies of the Acts can be ordered online. “Recognizing the need for a complete set of Malaysian legislation and in order to expedite the Reprint and Revision of the Laws of Malaysia, the Commissioner of Law Revision ('the CLR') has agreed with Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Bhd ('PNMB') to work in collaboration with Malayan Law Journal Sdn Bhd ('MLJ') to carry out work in relation to the publication of the Laws of Malaysia pursuant to sections 5 and 14 of the Revision of Laws Act 1968.

The Laws of Malaysia project is undertaken as a commercial venture between PNMB and MLJ under the official sanction of the CLR. The project aims to make available a complete reprint of the Laws of Malaysia and later a complete revision. A Reprint of the Subsidiary Legislation of Malaysia will be subsequently produced”.

Government

The Prime Minister’s Office of the Government of Malaysia. Click on the site map for access to a matrix that details information available about the Prime Minister’s Office, the Prime Minister, the government, referral information and events.

Regulatory

The Securities Commission of Malaysia web site Suruhanjaya Sekuiti (Securities Commission) provides access to resources such as press releases, publications and statistics. There is a training section – but you need to physically visit the commission to utilize this facility. The Capital Markets Masterplan section contains information about the Masterplan to establish Malaysia as an international Islamic capital market.

Malaysia Offshore - Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority: “The Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority Act 1996 (The Act) was enacted on 2 February 1996. The Act established the Labuan Offshare Financial Services Authority (LOFSA) on 15 February 1996 as a single regulatory body to spearhead and co-ordinate efforts to promote and develop Labuan as an International Offshore Financial Centre (IOFC).” There are plenty of press releases and course alerts available from the site, but the most useful item is a copy of the Labuan Offshore Financial Services Act 1996. The rest of the site seems fairly bland with limited information at the user’s disposal.

Financial

The Central Bank of Malaysia offers access to news, speeches, interviews, statistics and publications and hyperlinks to its licensed banks, financial intermediaries and other bodies. The references section allows access to about a dozen documents in full text or pdf format covering reference materials such as the Financial Sector Master Plan.

The Ministry of Finance: “This website has been developed to introduce the Department to the public and to be an alternative source of information regarding the organisation and its services both internationally and locally. Information contained in the website amongst others includes economic data, government procurement procedures, tax regime, Budget Speech, Treasury Circulars and FAQs.”

Ministry for International Trade and Industry: Everything you need to know about importing, exporting and investing in Malaysia.

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New Zealand

Judicial

The Courts of New Zealand: “The New Zealand system of Government is based on the Westminster model. Its fundamental tenet is that of the "separation of powers": that is the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary must be kept separate from each other to provide checks and balances within the system and ensure that accountability and impartiality are maintained.”

Legislation

The New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office is responsible for drafting and publishing legislation, the New Zealand Acts of Parliament and the statutory regulations. The public acts are listed up to April 2001 and there is no electronic access. Copies of the Acts, Statutory Regulation and Legislation have to be purchased from the web site or from the relevant body responsible for them. However, The New Zealand Government Online gateway provides free access to all legislation, under the “Commonly Requested Information” section.

The New Zealand Law Commission publications are freely available from their web site. “The Law Commission is an independent, government-funded organisation, which reviews areas of the law that need updating, reforming or developing. The Knowledge Basket is another site where you can access Acts, legislation and regulations, however, while it is free to search there is a charge to access the documentation and download from the site.

Government

The New Zealand Government Online: “NZGO is the Official Gateway to New Zealand Government. This website provides an overview of New Zealand and its government, access to government services information and employment opportunities, as well as government agency contact details.” This site provides access to a very large range of information under the “Commonly Requested Information” section.

Regulatory

The Securities Commission provides access to a 131-page document “The Securities Markets and Institutions Bill” on the home page. There is access to some other interesting publications, although the publications section only has a few additions to it annually. The site is sparsely populated with securities-related information.

Financial

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand provides an update e-mail service to alert the interested party to the latest updates. There are some regulations available on the site, but under the supervision and regulatory headings some of the documentation that has been made available consists of speeches or information releases. There is information relating to monetary policy, statistics, currency, the banking system, payment and clearing services and foreign exchange controls.

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Philippines

Judicial

The Supreme Court of the Philippines site provides access to information on the judicial system including a list and photographs of their justices. There is access to case materials up to February 2002, which loaded quickly, and resolutions to September 2000, if you can open the documentation.

Legislation

Chan Robles Law Firm Virtual Law Library appears to be more reliable than other sources that were evaluated for use. The site is available in six languages and the library is broken down into three sections: Philippines legal resources, worldwide legal resources and business resources. “Chan Robles & Associates Law Firm is pleased to share with you the thousands of Internet legal resources as well as general Internet guides, search tools and other sites of interest in its Virtual Law Library which you may find useful for legal, government, and business research.”

Abogadomo.com is maintained by the Tanjutco Law Office. Links are provided for access to laws, legal information, law directories, case materials, documentation and government bodies.

Government

Government Offices and Significant Organisations link via the Chan Robles Law Firm Virtual Law Library. An alternative option is to access the Philippine Government homepage. Click on the government links button for a complete list of national institutions, which includes the Senate and the House of Representatives. There’s also a list of global Philippine Consulates and Embassies.

Regulatory

Philippines - Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines): The regulations section of the web site contains relevant economic and financial regulations issued by the BSP. These include circulars and circular letter, memoranda, The New Central Bank Act (R.A. No 7653), the General Banking Law of 2000 (R.A. No 8791), basic guidelines for establishing banks, rules on foreign investments, Anti-Money Laundering Law (R.A. No 9160) and a checklist of registration requirements for pawnshops.

Financial

Philippines - Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines): Some of the web site is not very easy to navigate and could benefit from a bit more detail on its links. Also, the library is not easy to find, and once located, there is very little information, except for the opening hours and to clarify the function of the library for the general public.

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Singapore

Judicial

The CJ Koh Law Library at the National University of Singapore is crammed full of excellent information, and includes access to the Singapore Infomap, which is the official source of information on Singapore. It provides links to websites of the legislative and judicial bodies of Singapore.

Legislation

Singapore Statutes online: This service is provided by the Attorney-General's Chambers and the Managing for Excellence Office, MOF. The site contains access to Constitutional documents, Interpretation Acts, Private Acts, Imperial Acts and English Acts. It is user-friendly, has a very good search facility and the documents load up quickly.

Government

The SINGOV: Singapore Government Online Portal provides links to "locate the latest Singapore Government news, information, policies, services and electronic transactions available on the Internet". These include links to websites of local government bodies and statutory boards, which contain legal and law-related information. Other services offered on this site are available for a fee to subscribers only. The pages are maintained by the Ministry of Information, Communications and Arts. The Singapore Government web site offers access to statutes, government bodies, press releases, business information and much more. The statutes section is very easy to use and loads up documentation quickly.

Regulatory

Singapore - The Monetary Authority of Singapore: The MAS provides a regular news alert every time the site is updated. The alert arrives as an e-mail once you register for the service. This is a very useful tool for following new developments on policy developments and speeches, press releases, Parliamentary questions, Singapore Government securities announcements and other ad hoc publications. (See more below).

Financial

Singapore - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”): The MAS web site is a high-tech site with fast, efficient access to policy statements, financial sector information, licensing, statutes and regulatory notices, economic research, news, data and a directory of financial institutions. Every page and every document opens extremely quickly. The directory of financial institutions is a complete work of efficiency and logical simplicity. The site is easy to navigate because it is well planned.

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Taiwan

Legalnet is a commercial legal online service of Taiwan.  Among its data banks, the "Six Laws" database is freely accessible.  "Comprehensive Law Database" and "Topical Law Database" are fee-based services.  The databases can be retrieved by key words search and Boolean search. A Chinese language software with Big 5 code is needed for displaying and downloading.

Judicial

The Judicial Yuan Homepage provides access to information relating to the President, Vice President and Grand Justices of the Judicial Yuan, a directory of the judicial branch, important judicial events, statistics and operation of the judicial power.

Legislation

Legislative Yuan Homepage – Operations and Functions: “According to the ideas of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, our national father, about Five-Power Constitution, the National Assembly exercises political power on behalf of all the people, while the central government which consists of the Executive Yuan, the Legislative Yuan, the Judicial Yuan, the Examination Yuan, and the Control Yuan, exercises the five governing powers. This is the origin of the Five-Power Constitution and the Legislative Yuan. The Constitution of the Republic of China provides that the Legislative Yuan shall be the supreme legislative organization of the State, to be constituted of legislators elected by the people, and it shall exercise legislative power on behalf of the people. In terms of its competence, power, and function, the Legislative Yuan is equivalent to a parliament in other democracies.”

Government

The Organisation of the Central Government – the Examination Yuan of the R.O.C. “The Examination Yuan was formally established in 1930 to take charge of national examinations and the civil service system. For over 70 years, the Examination Yuan has built a solid foundation for the ROC's legal system of public functionaries”. This web site shows how the government organization is structured by using a chart system. If you click on some of the boxes on the chart, more pages open showing a huge amount of information.

The Control Yuan: “We are one of five Yuans in central government of the Republic of China. According to the Constitution and its Additional Articles, the Control Yuan has the powers of impeachment, censure and audit. Besides, it may take corrective measures against government organizations. Members of the Control Yuan may accept people's petitions, inspect central and local governments, make investigations, and supervise examinations.” Access to the Control Law of the Republic of China is available from the Control Yuan pages. The amount of information available from the five Yuan sites is impressive and all are available in English. The pages load quickly and the design is clean.

Executive Yuan: The homepage is currently under construction. The link is provided for future use. This web site will be as equally informative as the Judicial, Legislative, Examination and Control Yuan.

Regulatory

Taiwan - Securities and Futures Institute: Allow your mouse to roam over the subject listing and the subjects are shown simultaneously in English and Mandarin Chinese. There is a listing for laws and regulations that links to a Law Source Retrieving System. Laws are available for securities, company, accounting, futures and others. The databases provide access to capital increase & IPO listings, securities “TSEC-Listed” and over-the-counter “OTC-Listed” companies, TSEC and OTC market transactions.

Financial

Taiwan - The Central Bank of China: This web site provides information relating to foreign exchange, treasury, financial institutions and payment systems. It includes press releases, speeches, publications and statistical information. The laws and regulations section provides access to the Central Bank of China Act and the Regulations of Foreign Exchange.

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Thailand

Judicial

The Judiciary of Thailand. The part of the web site that is in English gives a full explanation of the judicial system and Court structure. But there is no other information available. In the Thai Parliament website, located in the library, there is limited information available. The library offers access to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2534 (1991). The Constitution is the supreme law concerning the administration of government of the country.

Legislation

The Council of State of Thailand:The Office of the Council of State, by its Foreign Law Division, prepares translation of legislation either at its own initiative or at the request of Government agencies, international organisations and foreign embassies. The English texts of the legislation translated by our Office are officially certified as true and correct and recognised by the Council of Ministers as well as all Government agencies.” The site is bilingual and lists 29 Acts. Access to them is in full text, although a couple of documents would not open. On the whole it is a good site and the information is useful.

The Bank of Thailand provides access to various Banking Laws and Exchange Controls Regulations.

Government

The Thai Parliament: One can only describe the National Assembly web site as “ornate” but it does offer detailed information about the government structure.

Regulatory

The Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission provides good information relating to the Thai capital markets. Notably, there is a section on the derivatives markets bill, and another section on enforcement. The listings for all the companies who are regulated by the Commission were about four months out of date.

Financial

The Bank of Thailand is another site that contains some very useful information. There are three main areas on the site: general, data bank and the bank at work, which then link through to more specialist areas of information, such as banking supervision. It is updated regularly and the pages load quickly.

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