3 new appointments to Supreme Court, deputy A-G post for Hri Kumar

(Clockwise from top left) Senior Counsel Hri Kumar Nair, Justice Steven Chong Horng Siong, Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh and Mr Tan Siong Thye.
(Clockwise from top left) Senior Counsel Hri Kumar Nair, Justice Steven Chong Horng Siong, Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh and Mr Tan Siong Thye. PHOTOS: SUPREME COURT, ST FILE

Steven Chong judge of appeal; Tan Siong Thye, Kannan Ramesh High Court judges

Three new Supreme Court appointments were announced yesterday, as well as that of Senior Counsel Hri Kumar Nair as the new deputy attorney-general.

High Court judge Steven Chong Horng Siong, 59, will be elevated as judge of appeal, while current Deputy Attorney-General Tan Siong Thye, 62, and Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh, 51, will become High Court judges, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement yesterday.

All three judges were appointed by President Tony Tan Keng Yam, on the advice of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. They will assume office on April 1.

With their appointments, the Supreme Court - which comprises the High Court and Court of Appeal - will have a total of 18 judges, including five judges of appeal and the chief justice. In addition, there are eight judicial commissioners, who are appointed for a fixed term, five senior judges and 12 international judges.

Mr Nair, who is a director at law firm Drew & Napier and has more than 25 years of legal experience, will begin his three-year term as deputy attorney-general from March 1, joining Mr Tan - who takes his new office a month later - and Mr Lionel Yee.

Mr Nair, 50, was an MP from 2006 to 2015, and appointed senior counsel in 2008.

  • Justice Steven Chong Horng Siong, 59

    To be appointed judge of appeal from April 1

    High Court judge from June 2010 to 2012, and June 2014 to present

    Attorney-general from June 2012 to 2014

    Appointed judicial commissioner in October 2009

    Chairman of the Professional Conduct Council Working Group

    Co-chairman of the Singapore Academy of Law's Legal Development Cluster

    Joint team leader of the Civil Justice Commission

    Mr Tan Siong Thye, 62

    To be appointed High Court judge from April 1

    Deputy attorney-general from February 2015 to present

    Appointed judicial commissioner in October 2013

    Senior district judge at the then Subordinate Courts in 2008 and later, chief district judge in 2010

    Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh, 51

    To be appointed High Court judge from April 1

    Appointed judicial commissioner in May 2015

    Managing partner of law firm Tan Kok Quan Partnership from 2008 to 2015

    Member of the Committee for the Professional Training of Lawyers

    Senior Counsel Hri Kumar Nair, 50

    To be appointed deputy attorney-general for three years from March 1

    Director at law firm Drew and Napier

    Member of Parliament from 2006 to 2015

    Appointed senior counsel in 2008

Drew & Napier chief executive officer and Senior Counsel Davinder Singh yesterday described him as "the best of the best" among lawyers, adding that Mr Nair would serve the country with distinction.

"We in Drew & Napier will always remember him for his immeasurable contributions, warmth and generosity of spirit," he said.

Law Society president Gregory Vijayendran said yesterday that Mr Nair will bring to his new role his strength of depth in both civil and criminal law.

"Lawyers who have dealt with him consider him to be incisive, diligent, fair-minded and yet for all his intellectual rigour, affable to a fault," he said.

Justice Chong was appointed judicial commissioner in 2009, and a High Court judge in 2010, after more than 20 years in private practice.

He assumed the position of attorney-general in June 2012 and was reappointed as a High Court judge two years later.

Mr Vijayendran said Justice Chong's rise to the apex court has been eagerly anticipated by the Bar.

Mr Tan joined the legal service in 1979. He was previously a prosecutor in the Attorney-General's Chambers and then chief district judge of the Subordinate Courts, which is now the State Courts.

He was appointed judicial commissioner in 2013 and was elevated to the Bench the following year. He has been deputy attorney-general since February 2015.

Judicial Commissioner Ramesh, who was appointed in 2015, was previously managing partner of Tan Kok Quan Partnership for nine years.

As judicial commissioner, he presided over civil matters, including the corporate restructuring of Pacific Andes Resources Development and its associates.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2017, with the headline '3 new appointments to Supreme Court, deputy A-G post for Hri Kumar'. Print Edition | Subscribe