Someone asked, "Is it true that the poor cannot afford justice and the rich abuse it? How can this be solved? Why were some targeted people bankrupted or have to pay huge sums for a fair trial? Aren't we supposed to have access to impartial justice? How can can the public avoid pre-verdict judgments based on coverage by the media?
Here are my points.
1. The laws of a country differentiate between "crime" and "civil offences". If the offence is a crime, it is the duty of the state to take action, e.g. murder, assault, cheating, vandalism. The victim can make a report to the Police and let the state investigate and charge the offender. The victim does not need to have money to get justice.
2. The poor can also get access to a "free" lawyer in certain cases, e.g. to defend a charge of a serious crime. The state may pay the lawyer or use a panel of lawyers who are willing to provide this free service for the poor.
3. In some countries, the attorney general acts as a lawyer for the people, and will take civil cases collectively on behalf of a large group of victims. The attorney general of New York State is quite active in this role, and has sued or obtained out-of-court settlement from big corporations for alleged offences.
4. In America, some lawyers are willing to take up cases for consumers on a contingency fee arrangement. The lawyer bears all of the cost and will take a percentage e,g. 30% of the compensation, if successful. This type of fee arrangement is not allowed in Singapore.
5. The legal system in America protects the rights of the citizens, and the poor. Singapore needs to adopt some of these good practices, so that the poor can also have access to justice and fair play.
6. The media reports statements made in court as there on cases of public interest. It is for the public to avoid making "biased judgment" based on incomplete facts, inadequate consideration or ignorance of the law. They should leave it to the court to make the judgement.
I hope that these points are useful and interesting.