NUS Law professor appointed as High Court Judicial Commissioner

15 September 2014 | General News
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Associate Professor Debbie Ong Siew Ling from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law has been appointed as Judicial Commissioner of the High Court by His Excellency President Tony Tan Keng Yam. The announcement was made by the Prime Minister's Office this afternoon.

Assoc Prof Ong is one of four who have been appointed as Judicial Commissioners, of which she is the only academic. She will begin her two-year term of office with effect from 17 November 2014.

Said Prof Simon Chesterman, Dean of NUS Faculty of Law, “We are thrilled that Assoc Prof Debbie Ong is being appointed Judicial Commissioner to the High Court. Prof Ong is a leading scholar on family law, but has complemented her teaching and research with extensive service to the courts as a mediator and amicus curiae. This new appointment will see her play a key role in the path-breaking developments in Singapore's family law regime, as well as further strengthening NUS Law's ties to the courts.”

In the course of NUS Law's illustrious history, many of its outstanding alumni have been appointed to serve the Bench. They include The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon (Class of 1986), former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong (Class of 1961) and Justice Steven Chong (Class of 1982).

The faculty has also been actively serving the legal profession. Many contribute their time and expertise in government resource and advisory panels and are advocates who are passionate in nurturing the next generation of legal practitioners and in serving the wider community.

Assoc Prof Ong is a sterling example. She graduated from NUS Law in 1989 and joined the faculty as an academic. An expert in family law, she has been active in serving the legal profession and the community. She has been appointed amicus curiae to the Supreme Court of Singapore in family matters and was also a volunteer Family Court Mediator in the Family Court for a decade. She is a Professorial Fellow in the Singapore Institute of Legal Education which trains law graduates for legal practice. She currently chairs the Centre Governance Committee of the Tampines Family Service Centre, serves on the Law Society's Family Law Practice Committee and on the Children and Young Persons Homes Review Board. In recognition of her work to the legal profession, she was awarded the Singapore Academy of Law Merit Award and the Legal Aid Bureau Amicus Award last year.

She has published widely in family law in various journals in Singapore and abroad, and is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Child and Family Quarterly Journal (United Kingdom).

NUS Law's Professor Leong Wai Kum, author of the leading text on family law in Singapore (Elements of Family Law in Singapore), said, "Debbie brings to the High Court deep knowledge of family law from years of teaching it together with years of engagement with society during her voluntary work. Through her career of inspiring the young and her social service of helping persons in family distress, she has developed the temperament to be an exceptional Family Law Judge."

Please refer to the Annex for a brief biography of Assoc Prof Ong.