New Presiding Judge appointed at State Courts

Justice Vincent Hoong Seng Lei now heads the State Courts, and has overall responsibility for its management and leadership.
Justice Vincent Hoong Seng Lei now heads the State Courts, and has overall responsibility for its management and leadership.

After a six-year term as the Presiding Judge of the State Courts, Justice See Kee Oon relinquished his position on Wednesday.

He is succeeded by Justice Vincent Hoong Seng Lei, the State Courts said in a statement.

Justice Hoong now heads the State Courts, and has overall responsibility for its management and leadership.

The State Courts said that Justice See will continue to be a Supreme Court judge, an appointment he has held since 2017.

Justice See was appointed Chief District Judge of the then Subordinate Courts in 2013.

After it was renamed as the State Courts in 2014, he became the first Presiding Judge of the State Courts.

During his term, Justice See oversaw the move of the State Courts to its new premises - the State Courts Towers - last year.

Justice See, who has more than two decades of judicial experience, also presided over several high-profile cases, including the City Harvest Church trial, which was held between 2013 and 2015, and lawyer M. Ravi's constitutional challenge in 2017 against changes made to the elected presidency.

He also heard three separate legal challenges against Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises consensual sex between men, in November last year.

In a development on Monday, the High Court dismissed the three challenges, with Justice See rejecting arguments that the law is unconstitutional. He said the decision by the Court of Appeal in 2014, involving a gay couple, remains binding.

Justice See is also the deputy president of the Industrial Arbitration Court and part of the Military Court of Appeal.

Aside from his adjudication duties, Justice See sits on the board of governors of the Singapore Judicial College, which offers training programmes for judges, among other things.

He chairs the Probation Committee and the board of the Community Justice Centre, which was launched to help unrepresented litigants.

He also chairs the Criminal Legal Assistance Steering Committee, which oversees the policies governing government funding of criminal legal aid.

Justice Hoong was the chief executive of the Singapore Land Authority from May 2009 to March 2015, before he was appointed as Registrar of the Supreme Court.

He was appointed judicial commissioner last year, presiding in the case involving the driver of a Mercedes-Benz who caused a fatal accident by driving against traffic on the Ayer Rajah Expressway in 2016. The man was sentenced to a one-year jail term.

Justice Hoong was appointed a Supreme Court judge in January this year, and currently sits on the Singapore Academy of Law's LawNet Management Committee.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2020, with the headline 'New Presiding Judge appointed at State Courts'. Print Edition | Subscribe