Former Attorney-General of Singapore VK Rajah has joined the prestigious English barristers’ chambers, the Essex Court Chambers. Along with him, there are other young Singapore lawyers who have also joined.
These four lawyers will be practicing as self-employed legal practitioners at Essex Court Chambers Duxton, where they will focus on advisory and advocacy work. This access to first-tier legal services is seen as a boost to Singapore’s status as Asia’s top venue for dispute resolution.
In a statement, London-based Essex Court Chambers (ECC), said, “They will commence self-employed legal practice as members of Essex Court Chambers Duxton (Singapore Group Practice) from 19 Duxton Hill, Singapore.”
Notably, ECC is a leading set of barristers' chambers specialising in commercial litigation, arbitration, public law and public international law. It is not a firm, nor are its members partners or employees. Instead, ECC is comprised of individual barristers, each of whom is a self-employed sole practitioner.
The other three lawyers joining Essex are Tham Lijing, Colin Liew and Calvin Liang. All these lawyers have previously served as Justices Law Clerks at some of Singapore’s leading law firms.
The move comes at a time when foreign chambers and law firms are looking to invest in advocacy in the region.
Famous English lawyer Toby Landau QC, who was the first Queen’s Counsel to be admitted to the Singapore bar in May, would be working alongside them.
VK Rajah has served as a Supreme Court judge and Judge of Appeal before becoming Attorney-General from 2014 to January, 2017.
In a statement, Rajah said, “Singapore’s first pure chambers practice introduces a different concept of specialised legal services that will focus on advisory and advocacy work. This will be a new platform to give Singapore and the region a wider choice in first-tier legal services in both domestic litigation and international arbitration briefs. I look forward to this exciting venture.”
Welcoming the move of Rajah, Gregory Vijayendran, Law Society president said, “Rajah continues to make waves wherever he goes. This time, the waves are global. The unique specialist advocate practice pioneered by Essex Court Chambers Duxton is a bold and innovative law firm model for Singapore.
He added, “VK's stature will add lustre to the brightness of some of Singapore's brightest in law, in this set up.”