SINGAPORE: Former Attorney-General VK Rajah, together with three promising young Singapore lawyers, has joined leading English barristers' chambers Essex Court Chambers.
The venture will see the four lawyers practicing as self-employed legal practitioners at Essex Court Chambers Duxton, where they will focus on advisory and advocacy work, the chambers said.
The move comes at a time when foreign chambers and law firms are looking to invest in advocacy in the region. This access to first tier legal services, is seen as a boost to Singapore’s status as Asia’s top venue for dispute resolution.
The other three lawyers joining Essex are Mr Tham Lijing, Mr Colin Liew and Mr Calvin Liang. They served as Justices Law Clerks before gaining advocacy and advisory experience at some of Singapore’s leading law firms.
Prominent 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.
Mr Rajah who served as Attorney-General from 2014 to 2017, said in a statement on Tuesday: “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.”
Having left public service, Mr Rajah said he “wanted to find a role that would embrace excellence and personal autonomy”. Essex Court Chambers “uncompromising commitment to excellence” could help to fulfil that aspiration, he said.
Singapore has gone from strength to strength as a global hub for international dispute settlement with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) being the latest dispute resolution institution to set up an office in Singapore.
The office which is expected to be ready early next year, will be the second office outside its headquarters in The Hague and the first in Asia.
Earlier in June, the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce has also said it would set up a case management office in Singapore in the first quarter of 2018.