With the aim of honing the legal skills of lawyers and non-lawyers alike, NUS Law has established the NUS Law Academy, officially launched by Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong and NUS Law Dean Professor Simon Chesterman on 12 November. The event also saw the graduation of 29 senior investigation officers from the Singapore Police Force with a Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice (GCCJ), one of the courses that will be offered by the newly launched Academy.
The Academy will offer skills-based, industry-relevant courses for the upskilling and reskilling of working professionals, enabling them to develop their abilities and update their legal knowledge within a flexible timeframe. In line with the national SkillsFuture initiative and NUS’ lifelong learning focus, these courses will be “stackable” towards graduate certificates, graduate diplomas and even a Masters degree.
The Academy builds on NUS Law’s existing Continuing Legal Education programme, which sees practising lawyers attend Continuing Professional Development (CPD) seminars to improve and expand their professional knowledge and skills, as well as earn CPD points to renew their Singapore practising certificate. The courses offered at the Academy will not be solely for practising lawyers but will also be catered to non-lawyers, such as those who wish to be involved in the practice of arbitration, master mariners and engineers, and law enforcement officers.
At the helm as Director will be NUS Law Associate Professor Umakanth Varottil, who is also the Director of Graduate Coursework Studies at the faculty.
The NUS Law Academy expands on six decades of transformative legal education at the undergraduate and graduate level, extending this mission to professionals at diverse stages of their careers, said Prof Chesterman in his welcome address.
“From brushing up on skills to learning about a new area of law, our aim is to provide a suite of modules for the working learner. Our hope is that the NUS Law Academy will become a vital part of Singapore’s legal ecosystem, offering a range of graduate certificates and diplomas to meet the challenges of the future economy,” he said.
Three accredited programmes currently offered by NUS Law will be available under the NUS Law Academy — GCCJ, the Graduate Certificate in International Arbitration, and the Graduate Diploma in Maritime Law & Arbitration. A new programme — the Graduate Certificate in Intellectual Property and Technology Law — will be introduced from August next year. These courses will be taught by faculty members of NUS Law, as well as by visiting faculty from leading law schools around the world including University of Cambridge, Harvard University, University of Hong Kong, University of Melbourne, University of Oxford, New York University, Seoul National University and Yale University.
The increasing complexity of crime investigation requires urgent attention, said Mr Tong in his address at the event. He was therefore pleased to see Home Team Academy, Home Team School of Criminal Investigation, NUS Law and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) collaborate to develop the GCCJ, which was rolled out in January. The nine-month programme is specially designed for senior Home Team officers to enhance their knowledge of the four legal pillars of the Singapore criminal justice system — criminal law, criminal procedure law, evidence law, and sentencing law.
“The end product is a programme that strengthens the knowledge of our investigators and enhances our officers’ ability to think carefully, deeply and rigorously,” Mr Tong said, commending the Academy for their work in this direction.
See press release.