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This time of year is always exciting at NUS Law. Our current students are preparing for their exams, many of them graduating to the next phase of their lives. Even as they look beyond the Bukit Timah Campus, we are recruiting the next cohort of undergraduate students, with well over a thousand hopeful men and women visiting our Open Day events to consider an application to NUS Law.

I’ll write more about that in a future Dean’s Diary. For the moment, let me share some news about our exciting work in Myanmar and important initiatives to recruit the next generation of NUS Law faculty.

 

Myanmar

The Singapore delegation with the Mandalay University.

Last month, I joined Senior Minister of State for Law & Education Indranee Rajah ’86, Assoc Prof Ho Peng Kee ’79, and my counterpart at SMU Yeo Tiong Min ’90 on a visit to Myanmar. We met with senior Myanmar officials, including Education Minister Dr Khin Sann Yi, Chief Justice U Tun Tun Oo, and Attorney General Dr Tun Shin.

But the highlight of the trip was signing of memoranda of understanding with the law schools at Yangon University and Mandalay University. These MOUs provide a framework for cooperation in legal education between our law schools, ranging from curriculum design and faculty exchanges to enhancing research and development resources. We also presented books to beef up their library resources.

All smiles after signing of MOU with University of Yangon.

The legal environment in Myanmar is changing rapidly, and it was truly impressive to see how quickly and how thoughtfully their law faculties are responding. My colleagues and I look forward to working with them on the basis of mutual respect to improve legal education and opportunities for students.

First Sheridan Fellows

One of the key missions of NUS Law is training Singapore’s lawyers. Doing so requires us to have a strong cohort of faculty that are expert in Singapore law. We routinely recruit leading scholars from around the world, but in order to encourage future academics who can specialise in Singapore law, we recently launched the Sheridan Fellowships.

Named after NUS Law’s founding dean, these new full-time positions are intended to serve as a bridge between either undergraduate study or work in the legal profession, and a tenure-track academic position with a strong foundation in Singapore law.

We received two dozen applications and are now in the process of recruiting the first batch of around five or six Fellows. They will be appointed on a two-year basis, but teaching only half the faculty workload. This reduced load will free up time for research, assisted by a faculty mentor, as they select their area of specialisation. They will then be encouraged to pursue graduate study with a view to returning on a tenure track position as an assistant professor.

We will introduce the inaugural Fellows in a future LawLink after they commence work in July.

New Chairs

As I announced in my most recent Annual Letter, we have benefited from the extraordinary support of key donors who have enabled us to create new chairs.

Prof Saw Swee Hock (B.A. ’56) has established the Saw Swee Hock Centennial Professorship in Law and we are presently engaged in a global search to find the inaugural chair. We are also preparing to launch a Professorship in Tax Law, made possible by the generosity of Sat Pal Khattar ’66.

Prof Ho becomes first Amaladass Professor of Criminal Justice.We were also able to build on the Amaladass Fellowship, first established in 2009 in memory of the late legal practitioner Mr M Amaladass, to establish the Amaladass Professorship. I am delighted to share the news that the first Amaladass Professor of Criminal Justice will be Prof Ho Hock Lai ’89.

Prof Ho works in the overlapping areas of criminal evidence and legal theory. A graduate of NUS Law, he earned a postgraduate law degree (BCL) at Oxford and completed his PhD at Cambridge. He joined NUS Law in 1991. His books include A Philosophy of Evidence Law: Justice in the Search for Truth (Oxford University Press, 2008) and Law, Virtue and Justice (editor with Amalias Amaya, Hart Publishing, 2013) and he has published widely in Singapore and international journals. Within the faculty, he is a colleague that is respected and admired for his commitment to scholarship. Among other distinctions, he presently serves as Law’s representative on the University Promotion and Tenure Committee and his work has been cited in the appellate courts of Singapore and other Commonwealth countries, as well as in leading texts on evidence.

In other professorship news, Prof Tan Yock Lin has served with distinction as the Geoffrey Bartholomew Professor since its inception but recently asked that another colleague be given the opportunity to hold that honour. After much consideration, I am pleased to announce that the second Geoffrey Bartholomew Professor will be Prof Jeffrey Pinsler.

Prof Jeffrey Pinsler is appointed the second Geoffrey Bartholomew Professor. Prof Pinsler’s expertise lies in the areas of civil justice, civil and criminal evidence, procedure and ethics. A graduate of Liverpool and Cambridge, he is an advocate and solicitor, barrister-at-law, Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators, a Principal Mediator of the Singapore Mediation Centre, a member of the Judicial Education Board and also a member of various professional committees of legal and governmental institutions including the Singapore Academy of Law, the Supreme Court and Ministry of Law. He has appeared as amicus curiae before the Court of Appeal, and his 17 books and many articles are regularly cited by lawyers and frequently relied upon by judges. In 2004, he was conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) by his alma mater, Liverpool, for his contributions to learning. In 2008, he was appointed Senior Counsel. He is a Senior Professorial Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Legal Education.

Together with all my colleagues, we offer our congratulations to Prof Ho and Prof Pinsler as they take on these new roles.

Stay in Touch!

I hope you find these updates of interest. If you have a Facebook account, one way to receive more frequent updates on our activities is to “like” our page: www.facebook.com/NUS.Law

 

Simon Chesterman
Dean, NUS Law

 

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