Practice and Procedure in the Administration of Muslim Family Law | Speakers

PROGRAMME  |  OVERVIEW

SPEAKERS


 KEYNOTE ADDRESS

VT

 

The Honourable Justice Valerie Thean
Supreme Court of Singapore

Justice Valerie Thean has been  a High Court Judge of the Supreme Court since 30 September 2017. She was first appointed Judicial Commissioner on 30 September 2014 (and was concurrently Presiding Judge of the Family Justice Courts from 1 October 2014 until 29 September 2017).
 
Justice Thean obtained her undergraduate and masters law degrees from Downing College, Cambridge University and Harvard Law School respectively. She has held various appointments within the public service, including as a Justices’ Law Clerk, Assistant Registrar at the Supreme Court, District Judge at the then Subordinate Courts, Senior State Counsel at the Attorney General’s Chambers, Director-General (Legal) and Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Law, and Senior District Judge of the Family and Juvenile Justice Division of the State Courts. She was also previously an Adjunct Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore Law Faculty.

JURISPRUDENTIAL TRENDS IN MUSLIM FAMILY LAW - A SINGAPORE PERSPECTIVE 

Panel 1_ Halijah Mohamad

 

Ms Halijah Mohamad
Sole Proprietor, Halijah Mohd & Co

Halijah Mohamad graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1983 and was admitted to the Singapore Bar in 1984. In 1995, she set up her law firm specialising in matrimonial law (in both civil and Syariah courts).

She is a member of the Family Law Practice and Muslim Law Practice Committees in the Law Society, and Vice President of Singapore Association of Women’s Lawyers. She was 3 times past Vice Present of AWARE (1999, 2000 and 2010-2012). She was a Council member of the Muslim Financial Planning Association.  She contributed the chapter on Overview of Syariah Law in family matters in the book Law & Practice of Family Law in Singapore published by Sweet & Maxwell (2016). In 2020, she co-created the very first module on Islamic Family Law in Singapore for the LLB programme at Singapore University of Social Sciences. 

She had been involved in representations made to Select Committee on several bills including amendments to Administration of Muslim Law Act, Women's Charter, Penal Code, and Maintenance of Parents Bill. In 1999 & 2017, as part of the Muslim Law Practice Committee, she had assisted in drafting of Amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Rules. 

She was also involved in the preparation NGO Shadow Reports on Convention of Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) submitted to United Nations (CEDAW Committee) in 2007, 2011 and 2017.  

Ahmad Nizam

 

Mr Ahmad Nizam Abbas
Managing Director, Crescent Law Chambers LLC

Ahmad Nizam Abbas is the managing director of Crescent Law Chambers LLC. He participated in the Parliamentary Select Committee’s hearing on the amendments to the Administration of Muslim Law Act in 1998, contributing extensively to the development of Muslim law in Singapore. He was the Chair of the Law Society’s Muslim Law Practice Committee between 2010 and 2021. He teaches 3 subjects at the Singapore Institute of Legal Education – Family Law, Wills , Probate & Administration and Mediation. In 2020,he  co-created the first ever module on Islamic Family Law in Singapore for the Singapore University of Social Services LLB programme and has collaborated with the National University of Singapore on its Muslim Law Practice Course, which caters to practitioners. 
 
He presently serves on the Youth Court’s panel of advisers, the Family Justice Court’s panel of child representatives and the Maintenance of Parents’ Tribunal, among others. He frequently speaks on the jurisdictional relationship between Civil Law and Muslim Law in Singapore at various forums, and his works have been published internationally. He has served on diverse boards including Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore) and MediaCorp.

 

PROCESS AND PROCEDURE IN THE SYARIAH COURT

Norhakim Md Shah

 

Mr Norhakim Md Shah
Partner, I.R.B. Law LLP

Hakim was called to the Singapore Bar and began practising in the year 2013. Even as a trainee, prior to practice, he had assisted in matters litigated in the Syariah Court and MUIS Appeal Board. For the past 9 years in practice, Syariah court litigation has been Hakim’s main practice area, amongst others, and he continues to represent his clients in the Syariah Court, while managing their expectations and putting their best case forward.

Hakim is a partner at I.R.B. Law LLP and is currently 1 of the 2 vice-chairpersons in the Law Society’s Muslim Law Practice Committee. He was also a member of the organising committee for the Family Conference in the years 2020 and 2021. As a practitioner, Hakim is an advocate of therapeutic justice and reaching amicable resolutions between parties in their disputes. 

There is no win or lose situation in a divorce or any family matter but, most times, parties take on litigation as a last resort. Through the past years of practice, Hakim has become familiar with Muslim law and the Syariah Court practice, but just like any other practitioner, he looks forward to learning and clarifying the current court processes with the panellists in Session 2. 

Masayu Norashikin Mohamad Amin

 

 

Ms Masayu Norashikin Mohamad Amin
Registrar, Syariah Court 

Masayu graduated from NUS, LLB (Hons) in 1999. She was called to the Bar in Singapore in June 2000. She was practising civil litigation from 2000 to 2009.

In June 2009, Ms Masayu was appointed as a District Judge in the Subordinate Courts (now the State Courts) in the then Family & Juvenile Justice Division. She went on to serve as a District Judge in the Family Justice Courts from October 2014 to December 2017. She was Deputy Registrar of the Syariah Court in January 2018 until her current appointment as Registrar, Syariah Court in April 2022.  

 

 

Shahrinah Abdol Salam

 

 

Ms Shahrinah Abdol Salam
2Director / Deputy Director of Legal Aid, Legal Aid Bureau 

Shahrinah Abdol Salam graduated with LLB Honours (2nd Class, Upper Division) from National University of Singapore in 2001. She joined the Singapore Legal Service upon graduation and served as Assistant Director, Legal Aid Bureau, Ministry of Law until 2008.

From 2008 to 2015, she was appointed State Counsel and subsequently Deputy Senior State Counsel, serving in the Legislation Division of the Attorney-General’s Chambers. In 2015, she was appointed Deputy Registrar of the Syariah Court and in 2018, appointed Registrar and concurrently adhoc President of the Syariah Court.

She is currently 2Director (2 Legal Representation & Advisory Team) and Deputy Director of Legal Aid at Legal Aid Bureau.

 

PERSPECTIVES FROM THE BENCH - ADVOCACY IN THE SYARIAH COURT AND THE APPEAL BOARD 

Istyana Putri Ibrahim

 

 

Ms Istyana Putri Ibrahim
Senior Assistant Director / Assistant Director of Legal Aid, Legal Aid Bureau

Istyana Putri Ibrahim is a legal service officer with the Legal Aid Bureau (“Bureau”), a department under the Ministry of Law.  Before joining the Bureau, she was a partner with Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP, practising commercial and criminal litigation. Since getting called to the Bar in 2011, Istyana has been lead counsel and/or mentored junior lawyers in a wide range of complex civil, family and Syariah divorce cases, including MUIS Appeals. 

Istyana now co-heads the Syariah Court Practice Group in the Bureau and led the implementation and training of the Specialist Legal Executive Scheme, which allows selected legal executives to attend court for straightforward Syariah Court cases, amongst other matters. She holds a Bachelor of Laws (Second Upper) from the National University of Singapore (NUS) where she received the Rajah & Tann Prize for Corporate Insolvency. In an exchange programme in McGill University, Montreal, Canada in 2008, Istyana studied Islamic Law under Professor Wael Hallaq. She is also an accredited mediator with the Singapore Mediation Centre. Finally, Istyana is co-author of the forthcoming publication, “Muslim Family Law in Singapore (1st Ed)”, the first dedicated textbook on the applicability and practice of Muslim family law in Singapore.

Guy Ghazali

 

 

Ms Guy Ghazali
Senior President, Syariah Court of Singapore 

Guy Ghazali is Senior President of the Syariah Court. She graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2005 and was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 2006. 

Prior to joining the Singapore Legal Service as a Legal Service Officer in 2015, Guy was a Partner in private practice. She spent many of her practice years in civil and commercial litigation, and eventually developed a principal practice in both civil and Muslim family law. She also advised on probate and administration matters, and succession planning. She was a member of the Law Society of Singapore’s Family Law Practice Committee, Muslim Law Practice Committee and Probate Practice Committee.  

Prior to her present posting to the Syariah Court, she was a District Judge and Assistant Registrar in the Family Justice Courts from 2015 until 2020. 

She served as a member of the MUIS Appeal Board, which hears appeals from the Syariah Court, from 2018 until 2020. 

Guy is an accredited mediator with the Singapore Mediation Centre. 

Mohamed Faizal

 

 

Mr Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir SC
Member of MUIS Appeal Board
Deputy Chief Prosecutor & Senior State Counsel, Attorney-General's Chambers

Faizal serves as Deputy Chief Prosecutor & Senior State Counsel at the Attorney-General’s Chambers. He holds adjunct teaching positions in various institutions and was General Editor of “Criminal Procedure Code of Singapore: Annotations and Commentary” published by Academy Publishing.

Faizal is the author of the Muslim Law Chapter in the Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review, and was concurrently co-author of the Criminal Procedure, Evidence and Sentencing Chapter for close to a decade.  A member of the MUIS Appeal Board and an alumnus of the National University of Singapore and Harvard Law School, Faizal was appointed Senior Counsel in 2020.
 

Azmin Jailani

 

 

Mr Azmin Jailani
Member of MUIS Appeal Board
District Judge, Family Justice Courts

District Judge Azmin Jailani graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2008 and was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in May 2009. Prior to his present appointment, Azmin was practising in Rajah and Tann Singapore LLP (previously known as Rajah & Tann LLP) from 2008 to 2013, and thereafter in Allen & Gledhill LLP from 2013 to 2017. While in practice, Azmin specialised in international arbitration, construction litigation, and civil & commercial litigation. He was also a volunteer lawyer with the Law Society Pro Bono Services (previously known as the Pro Bono Services Office of the Law Society of Singapore). 

In September 2017, Azmin was appointed as a District Judge of the Family Justice Courts. In January 2021, he was also appointed as a member of the MUIS Appeal Board, which hears appeals against decisions of the Syariah Court. In January 2022, Azmin was admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.