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NUS Law deepens expertise in criminal law with new Amaladass Professorship in Criminal Justice

17 September 2014 | Education
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The National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law has established the new Amaladass Professorship in Criminal Justice. The new Professorship aims to strengthen and deepen the faculty's expertise in criminal law.

The Amaladass Professorship builds on the Amaladass Fellowship, which was established in 2009 in memory of the late legal practitioner Mr M. Amaladass with a gift of S$1 million by one of his friends. The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has given the initiative a boost with an additional gift to NUS Law to convert the Fellowship into an endowed Professorship. Endowed chairs at NUS typically require a minimum S$2 million gift.

With this Professorship, the donor wishes to commemorate Mr Amaladass' life and work during his many years in private practice. The donor also hopes that this will promote research in criminal law in Singapore, as well as encourage NUS Law students to consider a career in this field.

Professor Simon Chesterman, Dean of the NUS Faculty of Law, said: “This gift is an extraordinary gesture to honour a good friend. It is also a timely reminder that the rewards of being a lawyer can be more than financial. The Amaladass Professorship will encourage more students to consider a career specialising in criminal law — and perhaps play an important role in ensuring access to justice for all Singaporeans.”

Mr Amaladass was a veteran lawyer specialising in criminal litigation for 28 years. He started his career as a police officer and was a police prosecutor before he retired at the rank of Assistant Superintendent. He studied law in London and was called to the Singapore Bar in 1980. Mr Amaladass passed away in December 2008 at the age of 73 due to a heart attack.

Inaugural Amaladass Professor in Criminal Justice

Eminent criminal law expert Professor Ho Hock Lai has been appointed as the inaugural Amaladass Professor in Criminal Justice in April this year, for a term of three years.

An alumnus of National University of Singapore's Faculty of Law, Professor Ho Hock Lai obtained his Master of Laws degree (the Bachelor of Civil Law) from the University of Oxford and his PhD from the University of Cambridge. He joined NUS Law in 1991.

Prof Ho's expertise lies in the areas of criminal evidence and legal theory, including the administration of criminal justice. Some of his works include “A Philosophy of Evidence Law: Justice in the Search for Truth” (Oxford University Press, 2008); “Law, Virtue and Justice” (editor with Amalias Amaya, Hart Publishing, 2013); and articles in various Singapore and international journals. Prof Ho's works have also been cited in the appeal courts of Singapore and other Commonwealth countries, as well as in texts on evidence.

As the inaugural Amaladass Professor, Prof Ho engaged over 100 legal practitioners, students and academics in a lecture titled “Recent (Non-) Developments in the Right to Counsel” this evening. During the lecture, which was chaired by leading criminal lawyer Mr Subhas Anandan, Prof Ho discussed the right of an arrested person to have access to a lawyer - an issue that has been in contention in recent cases - and offered an analysis of and reflections on the state of the law. He also made comparisons with the positions taken in other jurisdictions.

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