Judicial officers of the Republic of Singapore

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The Supreme Court Building, designed by Foster and Partners, which commenced operations on 20 June 2005 – photographed in August 2006

The judicial officers of the Republic of Singapore work in the Supreme Court and the State Courts (known up to 6 March 2014 as the Subordinate Courts) to hear and determine disputes between litigants in civil cases and, in criminal matters, to determine the liability of accused persons and their sentences if they are convicted.

In the Supreme Court, the current senior judicial officers are the Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who is also the President of the Court of Appeal; the Honourable Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin, the Vice-President; the Honourable Judges of Appeal, Justices Andrew Phang Boon Leong and V.K. Rajah; and the judges and judicial commissioners of the High Court. The other judicial officers are the Registrar of the Supreme Court, the Deputy Registrar, the Senior Assistant Registrars and the Assistant Registrars.

The State Courts are headed by the Chief District Judge, and the senior judicial officers are the five Senior District Judges, the District Judges and Magistrates. The other judicial officers are the Registrar of the State Courts, the Senior Deputy Registrar, and the Deputy Registrars.

Judicial officers of the Supreme Court[edit]

The former Supreme Court building, officially opened in 1939, housed the Court of Appeal and some of the courtrooms of the High Court until 2005 – photographed in August 2006

The superior courts of Singapore are the Court of Appeal and the High Court, which are collectively known as the Supreme Court of the Republic of Singapore.

The Court of Appeal is Singapore's highest court. It is headed by a President who is the Chief Justice,[1] and the other members of the Court are the Judges of Appeal. The Chief Justice may appoint one or more of the Judges of Appeal as vice-presidents of the Court of Appeal.[2]

The other senior judicial officers of the Supreme Court are the Judges and Judicial Commissioners of the High Court. The Chief Justice may request a Judge (but not a Judicial Commissioner) of the High Court to sit as a judge of the Court of Appeal, in which case he or she shall have all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges of a judge of the Court of Appeal.[3]

The Judges of the Supreme Court take precedence in the following order:

  1. the Chief Justice;
  2. the vice-presidents of the Court of Appeal (if any have been appointed) who among themselves shall rank according to the priority of their respective appointments as vice-presidents;
  3. the Judges of Appeal (other than vice-presidents), who among themselves shall rank according to the priority of their respective appointments; and
  4. the Judges of the High Court, who among themselves shall rank according to the priority of their respective appointments.[4]

The other judicial officers are the Registrar, the Deputy Registrar, Senior Assistant Registrars, and Assistant Registrars.[5] These officers assist the senior judicial officers by conducting pre-trial conferences, and hearing and determining minor court applications such as interlocutory applications and bankruptcy matters.

The Chief Justice, Judges of Appeal, and Judges and Judicial Commissioners of the High Court[edit]

Qualifications[edit]

A person is qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court if he or she has, for an aggregate period of not less than ten years, been a qualified person within the meaning of section 2 of the Legal Profession Act,[6] or a member of the Singapore Legal Service, or both.[7]

The Legal Profession Act defines a "qualified person" as any person who —

(a) before 1 May 1993 —
(i) has passed the final examination for the degree of Bachelor of Laws in the University of Malaya in Singapore, the University of Singapore or the National University of Singapore;
(ii) was and still is a barrister-at-law of England or of Northern Ireland or a member of the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland;
(iii) was and still is a solicitor in England or Northern Ireland or a writer to the Signet, law agent or solicitor in Scotland; or
(iv) was and still is in possession of such other degree or qualification as may have been declared by the Minister for Law under section 7 of the Act in force immediately before 1 January 1994 and has obtained a certificate from the Board of Legal Education under that section;
(b) on or after 1 May 1993 possesses such qualifications and satisfies such requirements as the Minister may prescribe under section 2(2) of the Act; or
(c) is approved by the Board as a qualified person under section 7.[8]

Appointment[edit]

The Chief Justice, Judges of Appeal and Judges of the High Court are appointed by the President if he, acting in his discretion, concurs with the advice of the Prime Minister.[9] Before tendering his advice as to the appointment of a judge, the Prime Minister is required to consult the Chief Justice.[10]

In order to facilitate the disposal of business in the Supreme Court, the President, if he, acting in his discretion, concurs with the advice of the Prime Minister, may appoint a person qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court to be a Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court for such period or periods as the President thinks fit. A Judicial Commissioner so appointed may, in respect of such class or classes of cases as the Chief Justice may specify, exercise the powers and perform the functions of a Judge of the High Court. Anything done by a Judicial Commissioner when acting in accordance with the terms of his or her appointment shall have the same validity and effect as if done by a Judge of that Court and, in respect thereof, he or she shall have the same powers and enjoy the same immunities as if he or she had been a Judge of that Court.[11] A person may be appointed to be a Judicial Commissioner to hear and determine a specified case only,[12] although this has not yet happened. In recent years, the Judicial Commissioner's post has been used as a testing ground to see if qualified persons are suited for elevation to the Bench as Judges of the High Court.

A person qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court or a person who has ceased to hold the office of a Judge of the Supreme Court (for instance, due to retirement), may be appointed by the Chief Justice, or may sit as a Judge of the High Court or as a Judge of Appeal, if designated for the purpose (as occasion requires), and such person shall hold office for such period or periods as the President shall direct, if the President, acting in his discretion, concurs with the advice of the Prime Minister.[13]

The Chief Justice and every person appointed or designated to sit as a Judge of the High Court or a Judge of Appeal or appointed as a Judicial Commissioner shall, before he or she enters on the execution of his or her office, take, in the presence of the President, the following Oath of Office:[14]

I, [name], having been appointed to the office of [Chief Justice, Judge of Appeal, Judge or Judicial Commissioner], do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will faithfully discharge my judicial duties, and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of the Republic of Singapore without fear or favour, affection or ill-will to the best of my ability, and will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore.

Tenure of office[edit]

A judge of the Supreme Court holds office until one of the following takes place:

  • He or she dies in office.
  • He or she attains the age of 65 years or such later time not being later than six months after he or she attains that age, as the President may approve.[15] The validity of anything done by a Judge shall not be questioned on the ground that he or she had attained the age on which he or she was required to retire.[16]
  • He or she resigns his or her office by writing under his or her hand addressed to the President.[17]
  • If the President removes him or her from office, on the recommendation of a tribunal appointed by him that the Judge ought to be removed on the ground of misbehaviour or of inability, from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause, to properly discharge the functions of his or her office.[18] The procedure for the removal of a Judge is as follows:
  1. The Prime Minister, or the Chief Justice after consulting with the Prime Minister, may represent to the President that a Judge ought to be removed on one or more of the above grounds.[18]
  2. The President shall appoint a tribunal and refer the representation of the Prime Minister or Chief Justice to it for its recommendation on the matter. The tribunal shall consist of not less than five persons who hold or have held office as a Judge of the Supreme Court or, if it appears to the President expedient to make such an appointment, persons who hold or have held equivalent office in any part of the Commonwealth. The tribunal is presided over by the member first in the following order: the Chief Justice according to their precedence among themselves and other members according to the order of their appointment to an office qualifying them for membership (the older coming before the younger of two members with appointments of the same date).[19]
  3. Pending any reference and report, the President may, if he, acting in his discretion, concurs with the recommendation of the Prime Minister and, in the case of any other Judge, after consulting with the Chief Justice, suspend a Judge of the Supreme Court from the exercise of his or her functions.[20]

Remuneration[edit]

Parliament is required by the Constitution to provide for the remuneration of the judges of the Supreme Court,[21] and it has done so by enacting the Judges' Remuneration Act[22] and issuing the Judges' Remuneration (Annual Pensionable Salary) Order pursuant to the Act.[23] The annual pensionable salaries paid to judges, which were last updated on 1 September 1994, are as follows:

  • The Chief Justice – S$347,400.
  • Every Judge of Appeal – S$253,200.
  • Every other Judge of the Supreme Court – S$234,600.

In practice, judges receive a much higher total remuneration package than the basic salary stated in the Order mentioned above as they also receive allowances. Section 2(2) of the Act empowers the Minister of Law, at his discretion, to determine a judge's "pensionable and non-pensionable allowances and privileges ... which shall not be less than such pensionable and non-pensionable allowances and privileges as a public officer receiving the same pensionable salary would receive". While section 2(4) of the Act makes publication of basic salary compulsory, there is no requirement in the Act for any determination made under section 2(2) to be made public.

Judicial independence[edit]

To secure the independence of the judiciary, the Singapore Constitution makes the following provision:

  • The office of a Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be abolished during his or her continuance in office.[24]
  • A Judge of the Supreme Court holds office until he or she attains the age of 65 years or such later time not being later than six months after he or she attains that age, as the President may approve,[15] and may not be removed from office unless the procedure set out in the "Tenure of office" subsection above is followed.[25]
  • The remuneration and other terms of office (including pension rights) of a Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be altered to his or her disadvantage after his or her appointment.[26]
  • The conduct of a Judge of the Supreme Court or a person designated to sit as such a Judge or a Judicial Commissioner shall not be discussed in Parliament except on a substantive motion of which notice has been given by not less than one-quarter of the total number of the Members of Parliament.[27]

In addition, the Attorney-General may bring committal proceedings against a person for contempt of court by doing an act or publishing a piece of writing calculated to bring the court or a judge into contempt or to lower his or her authority (known as "scandalizing" the court or the judge); or calculated to obstruct or interfere with the due course of justice.[28]

At common law, no judge of a superior court or inferior court is liable in damages if acting within jurisdiction, even if he or she does so maliciously.[29] Further, no judge of a superior court is liable for an act done outside jurisdiction, provided that this was done by the judge in the honest belief that the act was within jurisdiction.[30] Liability only attaches in such cases if the judge knowingly acts outside jurisdiction.[31]

Forms of address[edit]

The Chief Justice, the Judges and Judicial Commissioners are, when sitting in open court or in chambers, addressed as "Your Honour", and on social occasions or other extrajudicial occasions as "Chief Justice" or "Judge", as the case may be.

In all cause lists, orders of Court, correspondence and other documents, the Chief Justice, the Judges and the Judicial Commissioners are described respectively as "Chief Justice", "Justice" or "Judicial Commissioner" without any accompanying gender prefix.[32]

The full form of address for the Chief Justice is "The Honourable the Chief Justice", while that for other Judges is "The Honourable Judge of Appeal, Justice"/"The Honourable Justice"/"The Honourable Judicial Commissioner". In reports of judgments and in legal submissions, these forms of address are usually abbreviated as follows:

  • "The Honourable the Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong" – "Chan Sek Keong C.J." or "Chan C.J.".
  • "The Honourable Judge of Appeal Justice Andrew Phang Boon Leong" – "Andrew Phang Boon Leong J.A." or "Phang J.A.".
  • "The Honourable Judges of Appeal Justices Andrew Phang Boon Leong and V.K. Rajah" – "Andrew Phang Boon Leong and V.K. Rajah JJ.A." or "Phang and Rajah JJ.A.".
  • "The Honourable Justice Lai Siu Chiu" – "Lai Siu Chiu J." or "Lai J.".
  • "The Honourable Justices Lai Siu Chiu and Judith Prakash" – "Lai Siu Chiu and Judith Prakash JJ." or "Lai and Prakash JJ.".
  • "The Honourable Judicial Commissioner Sundaresh Menon" – "Sundaresh Menon J.C." or "Menon J.C.". There is no accepted abbreviation for "Judicial Commissioners".

List of judges of the Supreme Court[edit]

The table below lists the judges that were in office on or after 9 August 1965, the date when Singapore left Malaysia and became an independent republic. Judges currently in office are highlighted.

On St. Andrew's Road facing the Padang is City Hall, which was built between 1926 and 1929 and housed 12 courtrooms of the High Court from 1988 to 2005 – photographed in January 2006

Singapore's full independence was effected by three statutes, one enacted by Malaysia and two by Singapore. The Constitution and Malaysia (Singapore Amendment) Act 1965 (Malaysia)[33] effectively transferred all legislative and executive powers previously possessed by the Federal Government to the new Government of Singapore. The Constitution of Singapore (Amendment) Act 1965 (Singapore)[34] amended the Singapore State Constitution to alter the procedure required for constitutional amendment, and changed various nomenclatures to bring the Constitution in line with Singapore's independent status. Finally, the Republic of Singapore Independence Act 1965 (Singapore)[35] provided, among other things, that certain provisions of the Malaysian Federal Constitution were to apply to Singapore. It also vested the powers relinquished by Malaysian executive and legislature in the executive and legislative branches of the Singapore Government.

However, no changes were immediately made to the judicial system.[36] As a result, for about four years after independence appeals from the High Court of Singapore still lay to the Federal Court of Appeal in Malaysia.

It was only from 9 January 1970,[37] when the Supreme Court of Judicature Act[38] came into force, that Singapore established its own Supreme Court, consisting of a Court of Appeal, Court of Criminal Appeal and High Court. In moving the Second Reading of the Bill in Parliament, the then Minister for Law and National Development, Mr. E.W. Barker, noted that "the Supreme Court of Judicature Bill ... as its very name suggests, provides a proper basis for the administration of justice in our courts which should really have been introduced soon after we left Malaysia. Unfortunately, the many and varied problems which we had to deal with upon leaving Malaysia had forced us to continue with the existing system of administration of justice until the present day. All that the Bill purports to do is to set out logically the consequences that flow from our becoming independent on our own with an independent system of administration of justice separate from the system that was introduced to us while we were part of Malaysia ..."

A shortage of High Court judges led to an amendment to Article 94 of the Constitution in 1971 to permit the appointment of supernumerary judges.[39] These were judges who were engaged to continue their duties on a contractual basis after having reached the constitutionally-mandated retirement age of 65. A subsequent amendment to the Constitution created the position of judicial commissioner.[40] This amendment took effect on 4 May 1979.

In 1993, a single permanent Court of Appeal was established for Singapore with its own President and Judges of Appeal, replacing the Court of Appeal and Court of Criminal Appeal.[41] The Court of Appeal is constituted by the Chief Justice and the Judges of Appeal. The first Judges of Appeal to be appointed, on 1 July 1993, were the late Justice M. Karthigesu and Justice L.P. Thean.

No. Judge Birth and death dates Term of service
Judicial Commissioner (or Acting Judge) Judge Judge of Appeal (or Federal Judge) Chief Justice Reappointment after retirement
1 Tan Ah Tah
  • 1954 – 1 May 1955 (Acting Judge)
  • 2 May 1955 –
    30 September 1963 (Puisne Judge)
  • 1 August 1963 –
    30 November 1975 (Judge)
  • 1964 – 24 April 1969 (Federal Judge)
  • 18 August 1958 –
    5 January 1959 (Acting Chief Justice)
2 Murray Buttrose
  • 1954 (Acting Judge)
  • 24 December 1956 –
    31 July 1968 (1 July 1965 – 31 July 1968 (Supernumerary Judge)
  • 25 August 1962 –
    31 July 1968
3 F.A. (Frederick Arthur) Chua Born 15 May 1913
  • 15 February 1957 –
    15 November 1990
  • 16 November 1978 –
    15 November 1990
4 Wee Chong Jin[42][43] 28 September 1917[42] –
5 June 2005[44]
  • 5 January 1963 –
    27 September 1990
  • 29 September 1982 –
    27 September 1990
5 James Walter Davy Ambrose
  • 15 May 1958 –
    1 March 1968
6 A.V. (Alfred Victor) Winslow
  • 1 October 1962 –
    5 April 1977
7 T. (Thilliampalam) Kulasekaram Born 1919
  • 28 August 1963 –
    17 June 1984
8 Choor Singh (Choor Singh Sidhu) 19 January 1911[45] – 31 March 2009[46]
  • 28 August 1963 –
    30 November 1980
  • 20 July 1976 –
    30 November 1980
9 Denis Cosmas D'Cotta Died 1983[47]
  • 1 March 1970 –
    28 February 1981
  • 2 March 1976 –
    28 February 1981
10 A.P. (Arumugam Ponnu) Rajah 1911 –
28 September 1999
  • 1 October 1976 –
    28 September 1999
11 T.S. (Thirugnana Sampanthar) Sinnathuray Born 22 September 1930
  • 2 October 1978 –
    22 September 1997
  • 23 September 1995 –
    22 September 1997
12 Lai Kew Chai 7 February 1941[48] –
27 February 2006[49]
  • 1 July 1981 –
    7 February 2006[49]
13 L.P. (Lip Ping) Thean
  • 1 February 1984 –
    30 June 1993
  • 1 July 1993 –
    23 February 2002
  • 24 February 1998 –
    23 February 2002
14 Punch (Punchardsheram) Coomaraswamy Died 9 January 1999
  • 10 September 1984 –
    30 September 1993
  • 17 October 1990 –
    30 September 1993
15 Chan Sek Keong Born 5 November 1937[50]
  • 1 July 1986 –
    30 June 1988
  • 1 July 1988 –
    3 April 1992
  • 11 April 2006 –
    5 November 2012[51]
16 Joseph Grimberg
  • 2 November 1987 –
    5 November 1988;
  • 2 January 1989 –
    2 January 1990
17 Chao Hick Tin
  • 1 October 1987 –
    14 November 1990
  • 15 October 1990 –
    1 August 1999
  • 2 August 1999 –
    10 April 2006[52]
  • 11 April 2008[53] –
    10 April 2016
    (Vice-President, Court of Appeal from 18 April 2008)[54][55]
  • 11 April 2010[56] –
    10 April 2016[55]
18 Tan Teow Yeow 1946? – 6 August 2008[57]
  • 15 March 1989 –
    15 March 1991
19 Yong Pung How Born 11 April 1926
  • 1 July 1989 –
    27 September 1990
  • 28 September 1990 –
    10 April 2006
  • 12 April 1991 –
    10 April 2006[58]
20 M. (Mootatamby) Karthigesu 1923 –
21 July 1999
  • 5 June 1990 –
    14 November 1990
  • 15 November 1990 –
    30 June 1993
  • 1 July 1993 –
    21 July 1999
21 S. Rajendran (Rajendran s/o Sinnathamby)
  • 1 September 1990 –
    31 December 1990
  • 1 January 1991 –
    22 October 2003
22 Goh Joon Seng
  • 1 October 1990 –
    14 November 1990
  • 15 November 1990 –
    21 March 2000
23 Goh Phai Cheng
  • 14 January 1991 –
    14 January 1994
24 G.P. Selvam (Govinda Pannirselvam)
  • 1 March 1991 –
    28 February 1994
  • 1 March 1994 –
    7 July 2001
25 M.P.H. Rubin (Mohideen M.P. Haja Rubin)
  • 1 March 1991 –
    28 February 1994
  • 1 March 1994 –
    3 February 2005[59]
26 Kan Ting Chiu Born 27 August 1946[60]
  • 2 May 1991 –
    1 May 1994
  • 2 May 1994 –
    26 August 2011[59][61]
27 Lai Siu Chiu Born 1948?[62]
  • 2 May 1991 –
    1 May 1994
  • 2 May 1994 –
    30 October 2013[62]
28 K.S. Rajah (Kasinather Saunthararajah) 2 March 1930 – 17 June 2010[63]
  • 15 May 1991 –
    2 March 1995[64]
15 May 1994 –
2 March 1995
29 Michael Hwang (Sydney Michael Hwang)
  • 1 June 1991 –
    31 December 1992
30 Warren L.H. Khoo
  • 1 June 1991 –
    13 August 1999
31 Amarjeet Singh s/o Jeswent Singh
  • 2 January 1992 –
    1 January 2001
32 T.Q. (Teong Quee) Lim
  • 1 April 1992 –
    29 October 2000
33 Judith Prakash
  • 1 April 1992 –
    31 March 1995
  • 1 August 1995 –
    present
34 Choo Han Teck
  • 1 April 1995 –
    31 March 2001
  • 2 January 2003 –
    present
35 Christopher Lau Loke Sam
  • 2 May 1995 –
    1 May 1998
36 C.R. (Chelva Ratnam) Rajah
  • 1 July 1995 –
    30 June 1997
37 Tan Lee Meng Born 7 July 1948[65]
  • 2 February 1997 –
    31 July 1997
  • 1 August 1997 –
    7 July 2013[65]
38 Chan Seng Onn
  • 15 October 1997 –
    14 October 2000
  • 2 July 2007[66]
    present
39 Lee Seiu Kin Born 1954?[52]
  • 15 October 1997 –
    14 October 2002
  • 11 April 2006 –
    present
40 Tay Yong Kwang
  • 15 October 1997 –
    1 January 2003
  • 2 January 2003 –
    present
41 Woo Bih Li
  • 2 May 2000 –
    1 January 2003
  • 2 January 2003 –
    present
42 Belinda Ang Saw Ean
  • 1 February 2002 –
    1 January 2003
  • 2 January 2003 –
    present
43 V.K. (Vijaya Kumar) Rajah Born 1957?[67]
  • 2 January 2004 –
    31 October 2004
  • 1 November 2004 –
    10 April 2007
  • 11 April 2007[67] –
    present
44 Andrew Phang Boon Leong Born 1958?[68]
  • 3 January 2005 –
    7 December 2005
  • 8 December 2005 –
    27 February 2006
  • 28 February 2006 –
    present
45 Andrew Ang Born 25 February 1946[69]
  • 15 May 2004 –
    14 May 2005
  • 15 May 2005 –
    25 February 2014
  • 26 February 2011 –
    25 February 2014[70]
46 Sundaresh Menon Born 1962[52]
  • 3 April 2006[71] –
    2 April 2007[72]
  • 1 August 2012[73] –
    5 November 2012
  • 6 November 2012[51] –
    present
47 Quentin Loh Sze-On
  • 1 September 2009[74][75] –
    31 May 2010
  • 1 June 2010[76] –
    present
48 Steven Chong Horng Siong Born 1958[77]
49 Philip Nalliah Pillai Born 12 December 1947[79]
  • 1 October 2009[74][78] –
    31 May 2010
50 Vinodh Sabesan Coomaraswamy Born 1965[73]
  • 1 August 2012[73] –
    23 June 2013
  • 24 June 2013[80] –
    present
51 Lionel Yee Woon Chin Born 1966?[81]
  • 1 February 2013 –
    31 January 2014[81][82]
52 George Wei Sze Shun Born 1955?[83]
  • 1 August 2013 –
    31 July 2014[84]
53 Edmund Leow Hock Meng Born 1963?[85]
  • 1 October 2013 –
    30 September 2014[84]
54 Tan Siong Thye Born 1954?[86]
  • 1 October 2013 –
    30 September 2014[86][87]
55 Lee Kim Shin Born 1960?[86]
  • 1 January –
    31 December 2014[86][87]
56 See Kee Oon
  • 14 April 2014 –
    13 April 2017[55]

The name in bold is the judge's surname, or if he or she does not have a surname, the given name by which he or she is generally known. Judges currently in office are highlighted.

Notes
  • Chan Sek Keong was the first person to be appointed a Judicial Commissioner on 1 July 1986.[88] He served as Attorney-General between 1 May 1992 and 10 April 2006 before he was appointed as Chief Justice on 11 April 2006. In August 2008 he became the first Singaporean and local law graduate to become an honorary bencher of Lincoln's Inn.[50]
  • Chan Seng Onn was appointed Solicitor-General on 1 June 2001.[66]
  • The first woman judge, Lai Siu Chiu, was appointed on 2 May 1994.
  • Lee Seiu Kin, who served as a Judicial Commissioner between 15 October 1997 and 14 October 2002, served as Second Solicitor-General between 15 October 2002 and 10 April 2007, and was appointed a Judge with effect from 11 April 2007.
  • Wee Chong Jin was Singapore's first Asian Chief Justice and, having been appointed at the age of 45 years, also the youngest. In addition, having held the post for over 27 years, he was the longest-serving Chief Justice in Singapore and in a Commonwealth country.[42]

The Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Senior Assistant Registrars, and Assistant Registrars of the Supreme Court[edit]

Qualifications[edit]

For a person to be appointed to be or to act as the Registrar, the Deputy Registrar or an Assistant Registrar, he or she must be a qualified person as defined in section 2 of the Legal Profession Act (see above).[89]

Appointment[edit]

The Registrar, Deputy Registrar and Assistant Registrars of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Chief Justice.[90] These judicial officers are members of the Judicial Branch of the Singapore Legal Service, and it is the duty of the Legal Service Commission to appoint, confirm, emplace on the permanent or pensionable establishment, promote, transfer, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over such officers.[91][92]

As of 15 April 2009 the Registrar is Foo Chee Hock, while the Deputy Registrar is Audrey Lim Yoon Cheng.[93]

Protection[edit]

The Registrar, the Deputy Registrar or an Assistant Registrar or other person acting judicially shall not be liable to be sued in any court exercising civil jurisdiction for any act done by him in the discharge of his or her judicial duty whether or not within the limits of his or her jurisdiction, provided that he or she at the time in good faith believed himself or herself to have jurisdiction to do or order the act complained of.[94]

Judicial officers of the State Courts[edit]

The State Courts Complex at Havelock Square, which houses the District Courts and Magistrates' Courts
The Family and Juvenile Courts of Singapore are located in the former Ministry of Labour building, also in Havelock Square – both photographed in June 2006

The State Courts of Singapore are the District Courts, Magistrates' Courts, Juvenile Courts, Coroners' Courts and Small Claims Tribunals.[95]

As of 1 December 2011, the senior judicial officers of the State Courts are:

  • Chief District Judge[96] Tan Siong Thye, who was appointed in August 2008;[97]
  • Deputy Chief District Judge Jennifer Marie, Corporate and Court Services Division;
  • Senior District Judge[98] Foo Tuat Yien, Family and Juvenile Justice Division;
  • Senior District Judge See Kee Oon, Criminal Justice Division; and
  • Senior District Judge Leslie Chew Kwee Hoe, Civil Justice Division.

The other judicial officers are the Registrar of the State Courts, also Ms. Jennifer Marie; the Senior Deputy Registrar Tan Boon Heng; and the Deputy Registrars.[99]

Qualifications[edit]

For a person to be appointed to be or to act as a District Judge, he or she must have been for not less than five years a qualified person as defined in section 2 of the Legal Profession Act (see above).[100] For a Magistrate, the corresponding period is one year.[101]

The Registrar, Senior Deputy Registrar and Deputy Registrars are generally also required to be qualified persons within the meaning of the Legal Profession Act, although they are not required to have that status for any minimum period of time. However, the Chief Justice may, in his discretion, appoint any person who is not a qualified person under that Act.[102]

Appointment[edit]

District Judges and Magistrates are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Chief Justice.[103] They hold concurrent appointments as the Registrar, Deputy Registrars, Coroners, and Referees of the Small Claims Tribunals. The Registrar, Senior Deputy Registrar and Deputy Registrars are appointed by the Chief Justice.[104] District Judges, Magistrates and State Courts registrars are officers of the Judicial Branch of the Singapore Legal Service and are subject to the control of the Legal Service Commission.[92]

Before exercising the functions of their office, all judicial officers must take and subscribe the following oath of office and allegiance before the Senior District Judge or a Judge of the Supreme Court:[105]

I, [name], having been appointed to the office of [Senior District Judge, District Judge, Magistrate, Registrar or Deputy Registrar], do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will faithfully discharge my judicial duties and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of the Republic of Singapore without fear or favour, affection or ill-will to the best of my ability, and I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Republic of Singapore.

Protection[edit]

Judicial officers are not liable to be sued for any act done by them in the discharge of their judicial duty whether or not within the limits of their jurisdiction, provided that they at the time in good faith believed themselves to have jurisdiction to do or order the act complained of.[106]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap. 322, 1999 Rev. Ed.) ("SCJA"), s. 29(4).
  2. ^ SCJA, s. 29(2).
  3. ^ SCJA, s. 29(3).
  4. ^ SCJA, s. 4.
  5. ^ SCJA, s. 61.
  6. ^ Legal Profession Act (Cap. 161, 2001 Rev. Ed.).
  7. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (1985 Rev. Ed., 1999 Reprint), Art. 96.
  8. ^ Legal Profession Act, section 2(1).
  9. ^ Constitution, Art. 95(1).
  10. ^ Constitution, Art. 95(2).
  11. ^ Constitution, Art. 94(4).
  12. ^ Constitution, Art. 94(5).
  13. ^ Constitution, Art. 94(3).
  14. ^ Constitution, Art. 97 and paragraph 6 of the First Schedule.
  15. ^ a b Singapore Constitution, Art. 98(1).
  16. ^ Constitution, Art. 98(9).
  17. ^ Constitution, Art. 98(2).
  18. ^ a b Singapore Constitution, Art. 98(3).
  19. ^ Constitution, Art. 98(4).
  20. ^ Constitution, Art. 98(5).
  21. ^ Constitution, Art. 98(6).
  22. ^ Judges' Remuneration Act (Cap. 147, 1995 Rev. Ed.).
  23. ^ Judges' Remuneration (Annual Pensionable Salary) Order (Cap. 147, Order 1).
  24. ^ Constitution, Art. 94(2).
  25. ^ Constitution, Art.s 98(3), (4) and (5).
  26. ^ Constitution, Art. 98(8).
  27. ^ Constitution, Art. 99.
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  30. ^ Sirros v. Moore at 134–135; Re McC at 541, 550.
  31. ^ Sirros v. Moore at 136, 149; Re McC at 540. See P[aul] P. Craig (2003), Administrative Law (5th ed.), London: Sweet & Maxwell, p. 921, ISBN 978-0-421-79920-2 .
  32. ^ Supreme Court Practice Directions (as at 21 March 2007), paragraph 16.
  33. ^ No. 53 of 1965 (Malaysia).
  34. ^ No. 8 of 1965 (Singapore).
  35. ^ Republic of Singapore Independence Act 1965 (No. 9 of 1965, 1985 Rev. Ed.).
  36. ^ The Republic of Singapore Independence Act, section 11 (entitled "Temporary provision as to jurisdiction and procedure of Singapore Courts"), stated: "Until other provision is made by the Legislature, the jurisdiction, original or appellate, and the practice and procedure of the High Court and the State Courts of Singapore shall be the same as that exercised and followed immediately before Singapore Day, and appeals from the High Court shall continue to lie to the Federal Court of Malaysia and to the Privy Council."
  37. ^ Supreme Court of Judicature (Commencement) Notification 1970 (S 15/1970).
  38. ^ No. 24 of 1969, now the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap. 322, 1999 Rev. Ed.).
  39. ^ No. 16 of 1971, which came into force on 19 November 1971.
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  101. ^ SCA, s. 12(2).
  102. ^ SCA, ss. 9(1) and 10(1). Section 9(2) provides that the President may, on the recommendation of the Chief Justice, appoint a Senior District Judge who shall have seniority over all other District Judges.
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  104. ^ SCA, ss. 17(1) and 17(2) and para. 1 of the Schedule.
  105. ^ SCA, s. 68(1).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Supreme Court[edit]

  • Kwek, Mean Luck [et al.], eds. (2006), Hall of Justice: Supreme Court Singapore, Singapore: Supreme Court, Singapore, ISBN 978-981-05-5356-2 .
  • Supreme Court Singapore: Excellence into the Next Millennium, Singapore: Supreme Court, Singapore, 1999, ISBN 978-981-04-1266-1 .
  • Supreme Court Singapore: The Re-organisation of the 1990s, Singapore: Supreme Court, Singapore, 1994, ISBN 978-9971-88-426-0 .
  • Thian, Yee Sze; Chong, Chin Chin; Lim, Sharon, eds. (2002), In Session: Supreme Court Singapore: The Building, Her Heritage and Her People, Singapore: Supreme Court, Singapore, ISBN 978-981-04-7671-7 .
  • Yong, Pung How (1996), Hoo, Sheau Peng [et al.], ed., Speeches and Judgments of Chief Justice Yong Pung How, Singapore: FT Law & Tax Asia Pacific, ISBN 978-981-3069-07-7 .

State Courts[edit]

  • Khoo, Oon Soo (1985), Brief History of the Subordinate Courts, Singapore, Singapore: O.S. Khoo . Available in the National University of Singapore Central Library and C.J. Koh Law Library.
  • Koh, Daniel, ed. committee chairman (1997), Singapore Subordinate Courts: Excellence and Beyond, Singapore: State Courts of Singapore, ISBN 978-9971-88-540-3 .

External links[edit]