Criminal lawyers to work together

Criminal lawyers to work together

The Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore (ACLS) is to join forces with the Law Society's Criminal Practice Committee when it deals with official agencies and other bodies.

ACLS president Subhas Anandan said the move will obviate the need for the authorities, such as the Law Ministry or the Attorney-General's Chambers, to meet or address the ACLS and Law Society separately.

"As a united force, we are better organised to do things from a stronger position," he added.

He cited a pending joint visit to the prisons to discuss lawyer matters as an example of how the two groups will work as a partnership.

But he made it clear that the ACLS, unlike the Law Society, will continue to voice its views on legislation and other issues through its newsletter as it is not constrained by the Legal Profession Act.

As part of the new arrangement, Mr Subhas will sit as a consultant on the Criminal Practice Committee, alongside others such as former High Court judge Kan Ting Chiu.

Mr Subhas revealed the development on the sidelines of the ACLS annual general meeting last Friday where he was re-elected president. Other elected office-bearers include lawyers Suresh Damodara and Sunil Sudheesan as vice-presidents and Ms Diana Ngiam as honorary secretary.

Mr Subhas added that, in addition to pro bono (voluntary) work, the ACLS is working with the Association of Muslim Lawyers to look after and counsel former prisoners as part of the Yellow Ribbon project.

"Too much time is being spent on defending accused persons," he said. "We are forgetting that those released from prisons are equally important."

The Law Society's Criminal Practice Committee, chaired by lawyer Wendell Wong, provides guidance on matters relating to criminal practice and feedback about public and other consultations on legislative and practice changes. It also liaises with the courts and other bodies on criminal practice matters.

The ACLS was founded a decade ago by Mr Subhas and other criminal practice lawyers.

Mr Wong said: "Subhas is one of our leading criminal practitioners. His new role will help us advance the interests of our members."

This article was first published on Dec 1, 2014.
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