Who actually appoints Judges in Singapore?

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Who actually appoints Judges in Singapore? Whilst one can never actually be clear as the process of selection is clearly shrouded in secrecy but what is known is the Prime Minister consults with the Chief Justice and recommends Judicial appointments to the High Court. One can’t be very far off the mark to surmise that that with most appointments, it is the Chief Justice who would oversee the vetting process and recommend suitable appointments.

Since Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon took office, there has been quite a record haul of judicial appointments, especially the appointment of judicial commissioners. Earlier today 4 more judicial commissioners took their oath of office.

Ms Valerie Thean Pik Yuen, the daughter of former Justice of Appeal Judge LP Thean, will also be presiding judge of the Family Courts. She is joined by Ms Debbie Ong, Associate Professor of Law at National University of Singapore, famed for her many articles and insights on family law issues. She will clearly be a specialist judge presiding over matrimonial cases.

Ms Hoo Sheau Peng and Mr Aedit Abdullah have had distinguished careers in the legal service and now get elevated to the bench leading to a record 8 judicial commissioners.

It appears from the trend of appointments that specialist judges are preferred in the appointments. Thus far, it is apparent that judges with specialist knowledge in corporate law, intellectual property and family law have been appointed and its likely that specialization is the new trend for practitioners in Singapore.

Judges having specialist knowledge will undoubtedly raise the bar for practitioners in their presentation of cases as the Judges hold court knowing that there will no longer be judges ignorant of the law.