Help For Those Charged With Capital Offences
Those charged with capital offences - offences where the penalty may be death - are assigned free legal counsel under the Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences (LASCO).
Those facing non-capital charges should tap into the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS) instead.
Who is LASCO intended to help?
LASCO is intended to help those charged with capital offences (e.g. murder and kidnapping) regardless of nationality. There is no means test to pass or eligibility criteria to satisfy.
What type of legal aid does LASCO offer?
LASCO provides legal representation at trial and on appeal. Usually two counsel will be assigned to you with one leading and one assisting.
How to get help under LASCO?
Once a person is charged with a capital offence, legal counsel will be assigned to the person.
How is counsel assigned to cases?
Practicing lawyers, usually defence lawyers, apply through the Supreme Court to become LASCO Counsel. Those who qualify are on a list maintained by the Registrar of the Supreme Court.
When there is a case, counsel on the list are notified. Any counsel may volunteer for the case. The LASCO Selection Panel then assigns the counsel to the case after deliberation.
Currently, about 200 lawyers are LASCO counsel.
Lawyers and LASCO
Who can volunteer to participate in LASCO?
Lawyers of good standing and reputation can refer to the Guidelines for LASCO to check if they meet the emplacement criteria.
How to volunteer?
Lawyers who wish to volunteer as LASCO counsel are invited to complete the Application Form for LASCO and submit the form to the Supreme Court Registry.
Junior lawyers who do not meet the emplacement criteria for LASCO counsel may register as Junior Assisting Counsel instead. If assigned as junior assisting counsel, you can provide litigation support to the LASCO counsel.
Payment/Honorarium for LASCO counsel
All assigned counsel (except junior assisting counsel) are paid an honorarium for professional services rendered.The amount of honorarium paid in each case is determined by the Registrar of the Supreme Court.
LASCO counsel make their claims using the Honorarium Claim Form.
Appreciation of LASCO supporters
LASCO is made possible with the support of the legal community. The Supreme Court is grateful to its LASCO supporters: Law firms and Counsel who Support LASCO.
Help For Those Charged With Non-Capital Offences
The Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS) offers legal help to those facing non-capital charges (i.e. non-death penalty offences). CLAS offers free counsel assigned by the State.
Who is CLAS intended to help?
This scheme is for those who are charged with non-capital offences and cannot afford legal counsel. Those tapping into CLAS for aid are required to pass a means test to show they cannot afford legal counsel. The means test involves assessment of income and disposable assets.
How to get help under CLAS?
CLAS is administered by the Law Society of Singapore. You may apply in person (either for yourself or on behalf of someone who has been remanded) at the Pro Bono Services Office located at:
Alternatively, you can visit the website to download an application and send the completed form by fax or email to the address above.
Recent announcements for LASCO counsel
Media release on 26 November 2010 on the LASCO Award
Media release on 20 May 2011 on new LASCO initiatives
The Registrar, Supreme Court reserves the right to accept or reject any application for LASCO counsel. The Registrar reserves the right to withdraw legal representation under LASCO at any time at its discretion. The Registrar reserves the right to amend, vary or modify any condition or criteria in determining an application for LASCO at its discretion without prior notice.