Top legal minds to help shape 3rd law school

Top legal minds to help shape 3rd law school

SINGAPORE - Some of the most prominent members of the legal fraternity in Singapore will have a hand in shaping the third law school, which will be set up in a few years at SIM University.

The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) announced yesterday that it has set up a 12-member steering committee to provide the school's strategic direction, including its admissions criteria, curriculum development and educational philosophy.

Members on the panel, which is headed by Senior Minister of State for Education and Law Indranee Rajah, include Attorney-General's Chambers chief prosecutor Tai Wei Shyong and Chief District Judge See Kee Oon.

Also on the list are senior counsels Amarjeet Singh and N. Sreenivasan, renowned criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan and leading family lawyer Foo Siew Fong.

The committee will be supported by a Curriculum Working Group, which will make recommendations on the curricular framework.

Plans for Singapore's third law school were announced by Law Minister K. Shanmugam in May. It was one of the recommendations by a committee formed to review the supply of lawyers here.

While SIM's new part-time undergraduate course, which is expected to take in about 75 students, will lead to a general law degree, there will be a strong focus on criminal and matrimonial law.

This is to address the shortage of lawyers in these fields.

Ms Indranee said that a strong emphasis on multi-disciplinary and applied learning will be another unique feature of the school. "It will provide another new pathway to learning, and allow people to achieve new career heights by leveraging on relevant past experience," she said.

MinLaw said work experience through industry attachments and exposure to pro bono work will be an integral part of the course.

The UniSIM Law School intends to attract students with the appropriate aptitude and disposition, such as those with relevant working experience and maturity to handle the emotional aspects of family and criminal law.

Ms Foo, who has practised as a lawyer for more than two decades, believes those with backgrounds in social work and counselling will fit the bill.

"Not only will they have the relevant background, but they are also likely to have the soft skills that will make them good family lawyers," she said.

"I will definitely hire someone with such a background."

Criminal lawyer Josephus Tan, who spends a third of his time on giving free legal advice, added that pro bono attachments are a good way for law students to develop their skills while providing assistance to society's most vulnerable.

As for the make-up of the steering committee, the 33-year-old said: "With so many top legal minds playing a part, I would say the third law school is off to a good start."

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