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LawLink VOL. 07 ISSUE 02JUL - DEC 2008ISSN: 0219-6441 T h e A l u m n i M a g a z i n e o f t h e N a t i o n a l U n i v e r s i t y o f S i n g a p o r e F a c u l t y o f L a w
Interview with Lord Leonard Hoffmann
Obligations IV Conference
5th ASLI Conference
Law Minister K Shanmugam SC ’84
Photography by Celestine Chan • Design & Production by Brownsea Services (S) Pte Ltd
469G Bukit Timah Road Eu Tong Sen Building Singapore 259776. website : www.law.nus.edu.sg/alumni
We want to hear from you, please contact us at: email : [email protected] • tel : (65) 6516 3616 • fax : (65) 6779 0979
Update your personal particulars at: www.law.nus.edu.sg/alumni/update_particulars.asp
LawLink - NUS Faculty of Law
A word from the Editor
Some key appointments in the Singapore Legal Sector were made this year. Mr K. Shanmugam SC ’84, previously in legal practice and a longtime Member of Parliament, was propelled to his new appointment as the Minister for Law on 1 May. Professor Walter Woon ’81, previously the Solicitor-General, etched up a notch to his appointment as the Attorney-General on 11 April. Mrs Koh Juat Jong ’88, previously the Registrar of the Supreme Court, was appointed as the new Solicitor-General also on 11 April. Together with the Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong ’61, the top posts are now filled with our home-grown NUS Law School alumni. This is something to be proud of.
We are featuring Minister Shanmugam in our cover story. He was gracious enough, due to his longstanding association with the Faculty as an Advisory Board member, to squeeze in the time to chat with us, whilst addressing the issues of the day, such as the step-by-step implementation of the Report of the Committee to Develop the Singapore Legal Sector (the VK Rajah Report). We also had the rare opportunity to interview Lord Leonard Hoffmann, Second Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, House of Lords, in a relaxed and candid mood during the Obligations IV Conference (page 6).
Overseas Internship Programme During the last academic year, the Law Dean initiated the development of an “Overseas Internship Programme”. The objective of the Overseas Internship Programme is to open up opportunities for our law students to experience first-hand working in a foreign environment and legal system, and the unique chance to gain insight into how top law firms, international companies or other organisations work.
We had a modest start in the summer of 2008 and aim to expand the Internship Programme for next Summer 2009. The vacation period is from mid-May to end-July (12 weeks). If you are able to consider offering the Faculty one or some internship positions, or can help to introduce us to the appropriate party within your organisation to speak with, would you please drop an email to us at: [email protected] or telephone Joyce/Celestine of Alumni Relations at: (65) 6516-7373 / 6516-3616. We would be so pleased and grateful to hear from you. Please rest assured that we will work with your law firm, company or organisation to pan out an internship according to your preferences.
I believe that some international exposure will be good for our law students, as I too benefited from a working stint at a law firm in London after doing my LLM at Kings College. Indeed, two of our writers submitted their pieces while they were on overseas internship. Sangeetha Yogendran ’09, who wrote the Faculty Features (page 26), spent her summer at InterPol in France. Lynette Chua ’10, who wrote about her overseas internship experience (page 11), spent her year at KhattarWong in Shanghai. The co- interviewer of the cover story Lavanesan Swaminathan ’09 has just left for a year in New York City. He is one of the pioneer batch of seven NUS law students attending the NUS-NYU LLB/LLM Dual Degree Programme.
It leaves me now to thank the team of writers and contributors of this issue and Celestine Chan for her administrative support and photography. I would also like to thank Associate Dean Goh Mia Yang ’92 and Vice Dean Associate Professor Alan Tan ’93 for their guidance and advice, and our legal managers team who helped to arrange for submission of the various articles.
Joyce Khoo-Phua ’85 Editor Associate Director Alumni Relations and Development
Going “Glocal” - From Local Roots to Global Growth
Dean’s Message 1
Retirement of the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Malaysia 2
Law School Highlights:
Donors’ List 2
New Advisory Board Member 2
5th Professorial Lecture by Professor Leong Wai Kum 3
5th ASLI Conference 4
Obligations IV Conference 5
Alumni Reunion in Shanghai 8
WTO Diploma Ceremony and Closing Dinner 9
Student Exchange Programme - India 10
Overseas Internship - Shanghai 11
NUS and NYU Dual Law Degree Programmes 12
Collegiate Dinner 13
Oxford Moots / International Mooting Competitions 21
Symposium on Emergency Powers in Asia 22
Cover Story Interview with Mr K. Shanmugam SC ’84, Minister for Law 14
Interview with Lord Leonard Hubert Hoffmann 6
Class of 2008 Commencement 18
[email protected] Students Sharing 20
Visiting Professors 23
Assistant Professor Cheah Wuiling ’03 26
Teaching Assistant Jaclyn Neo ’03 27
Reunion in Kuala Lumpur in 2009 27
News from Office of Alumni Relations
President’s Dialogue Lunch 26 with Law Alumni
Class Ambassadors Initiative 27
[ Dean’s Message ]
Any great academic institution pushes the boundaries of human understanding and the law school has been no exception. Aside from our very successful continuing legal education programme of lectures and seminars, often in collaboration with the Singapore Academy of Law, we have also organised two important international conferences and one symposium. The symposium, organised by Vice-Dean Victor Ramraj and Arun Thiruvengadam, focused on Emergency Powers in Asia: Exploring the Limits on Legality. It brought together an inter- disciplinary group of scholars from around the world and the papers will be published as a collection of essays by Cambridge University Press. The first of the two conferences was the 5th Annual Asian Law Institute Conference which saw around 200 papers being presented on a wide variety of issues relevant to Asia. The second was the Obligations IV Conference on The Goals of Private Law which was co-organised with the Singapore Academy of Law and the University of Melbourne under the lead of Tang Hang Wu ’95 of NUS and Andrew Robertson of Melbourne. I understand that a number of the papers will be collected and published by Hart Publishing. Obligations V will move to Oxford next and at least two faculty members in Oxford have written to me to say that Obligations IV has set a very high standard for Oxford to emulate in terms of organisation and intellectual content.
Every law school is ultimately as good as its academic faculty. On this note I am happy to say that we have had a great deal of success on the hiring front. New young faculty members who have joined us are Cheah Wuiling ’03 who has worked at Interpol and taught at the University of Lyon, and who has just completed her LLM at Harvard; Lynette Chua ’03 who is presently pursuing doctoral studies at UC Berkeley; Goh Yihan ’06 who was until recently a Justices’ Law Clerk at the Supreme Court; Jean Ho ’03 who is currently pursuing her second LLM at Sorbonne after her first from NYU; Jaclyn Neo ’03 who was at Wong Partnership for several years and who has just completed her LLM at Yale; and Dan Puchniak from Canada who recently completed his PhD at Kyushu University. Recent senior hires are Mindy Chen-Wishart (joint appointment with Oxford); Stephen Girvin from Birmingham whom we are happy to welcome back to NUS; Kevin Gray (joint appointment with
Cambridge); and Joseph Weiler (joint appointment with NYU).
On the student admissions front, the law school continues to do outstandingly. As with previous years, we face stiff competition for LLB students from other Commonwealth law schools, as well as the many public and private organisations that award scholarships for overseas study. For this reason
we spend a great deal of effort on road shows to Junior Colleges, Open Houses, and branding and marketing initiatives. These are helpful but there is ultimately no substitute for a rigorous and innovative academic programme. In the last few years the law school has been very innovative and our LLB programme is probably one
of the most exciting in the world. Our students continue to be exposed to a rigorous curriculum that will prepare them well for legal practice but in addition to this, many will have the opportunity to pursue a double degree in another discipline, a double law degree, an exchange programme, or a minor in another discipline. Combinations of these are possible so that a double degree student may also spend a semester overseas on exchange. These efforts appear to be paying dividends as our admissions statistics continue to remain very strong
despite increased competition.
At the graduate level we have also seen a record number of applications for our LLM and PhD programmes. The new