- YEO Tiong Min has been appointed as Senior Counsel (honoris causa), or Honorary Senior Counsel, in recognition of his special knowledge in law and his outstanding contribution to the development of the law and to the legal profession. This is the first time that the Senior Counsel Selection Committee has appointed a Senior Counsel (honoris causa). This was announced at the Opening of the Legal Year today by The Honourable the Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong.
Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong also announced the appointment of two Senior Counsel. They are:
(a) KANNAN Ramesh, who was admitted as an advocate and solicitor on 23 March 1991; and
(b) Aedit ABDULLAH, who joined the Legal Service in 1995.
The Senior Counsel scheme was started in 1997 to recognise the best and most skilful advocates in the legal profession. Appointment as Senior Counsel is an accolade given to those who possess outstanding ability as advocates, extensive knowledge of the law and the highest professional standing.
Senior Counsel are selected, pursuant to section 30 of the Legal Profession Act, Cap 161, by a Selection Committee comprising The Honourable the Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, The Honourable Attorney-General Sundaresh Menon, SC, The Honourable Judge of Appeal Justice Chao Hick Tin, The Honourable Judge of Appeal Justice Andrew Phang Boon Leong and The Honourable Judge of Appeal Justice V K Rajah.
To date, a total of 54* persons have been appointed Senior Counsel.
Members of the legal profession may be appointed Senior Counsel (honoris causa) to recognise their outstanding contribution to the development of the law. Such appointments will not be an annual practice, but will be made on very rare occasions. No application needs to be made, but Senior Counsel (honoris causa) will need to satisfy the basic criteria stated under section 30 of the Legal Profession Act.
Similar honoris causa appointments have also been made in other jurisdictions. In common law jurisdictions like England and Wales, this recognition has been conferred on a number of illustrious scholars.
1 *This figure includes Senior Counsel (honoris causa) but excludes the Honourable the Chief Justice, 9 Supreme Court judges, the Deputy Chief District Judge, the Senior District Judge and 2 deceased SC.
2 Persons holding office as Solicitor-General and Attorney-General are appointed Senior Counsel pursuant to sections 30(7) and 30(8) of the Legal Profession Act. These statutory appointments include the former Attorneys-General Mr Tan Boon Teik and Professor Walter Woon, former Solicitor-General Mr Koh Eng Tian and the current Solicitor-General Mrs Koh Juat Jong.
3 Senior Counsel who are appointed to a judicial office (other than as a judge of the Supreme Court) will cease to use the Senior Counsel designation for the period of service in judicial office. Senior Counsel appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court will cease to use the designation altogether. There are currently 10 Supreme Court judges (including the Chief Justice), and a deputy chief district judge and a senior district judge in the Subordinate Courts who were appointed Senior Counsel.
4 Currently, there are 41 practising lawyers who are appointed Senior Counsel.
The Singapore Academy of Law (the “Academy”) is the umbrella body of the legal community in Singapore and has close to 9,000 members.
The work of the Academy is focused on three key areas: supporting the growth and development of the Legal Industry; building up the intellectual capital of the legal profession by enhancing Legal Knowledge; and improving the efficiency of legal practice through Legal Technology. The work of the Academy is driven by these three core mandates. This in turn is directed towards raising the standard and quality of legal practice and building a strong and dynamic legal community in Singapore.
Besides its role as the official law reporting agency in Singapore, the Academy’s other functions include providing continuing legal education for its members, legal publications, promoting legal research and scholarship, the reform and development of the law and alternative dispute resolution.