3 new High Court appointments and new deputy Attorney-General: PMO

Lawyer Hri Kumar Nair was named a Deputy Attorney-General for a three-year term starting March 1.
Lawyer Hri Kumar Nair was named a Deputy Attorney-General for a three-year term starting March 1.PHOTO: ST FILE
(From left) Current deputy Attorney-General Tan Siong Thye, Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh, and Justice Steven Chong have been appointed as High Court judges.
(From left) Current deputy Attorney-General Tan Siong Thye, Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh, and Justice Steven Chong have been appointed as High Court judges.PHOTOS: SUPREME COURT

SINGAPORE - The Supreme Court will get two new judges and a new judge for the apex Court of Appeal, while a new deputy attorney-general has been appointed too, said the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in a statement on Thursday (Feb 16).

Justice Steven Chong Horng Siong, 59, will be appointed Judge of Appeal, while current deputy Attorney-General Tan Siong Thye, 62, and Judicial Commissioner Kannan Ramesh, 51, will take on the role of High Court judges.

Senior Counsel Hri Kumar Nair, 50, has also been appointed as Deputy Attorney-General for a three-year term starting from March 1, added the PMO in a separate statement.

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

Mr Nair, who was an MP from 2006 to 2015, is a director at Drew and Napier. He has more than 25 years of legal experience and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2008.

He has acted in a wide range of litigation and arbitration matters for major international and local companies and financial institutions. He has also advised on regulatory issues and led teams to investigate fraud and other issues in both private and listed companies.

Mr Nair will join the team of Deputy Attorneys-General which currently includes Mr Tan Siong Thye and Mr Lionel Yee.

Law Society of Singapore president Gregory Vijayendran, in a statement on Thursday, congratulated Mr Nair on his appointment. "Hri’s wide ranging experience at the Bar includes both complex banking litigation and an unusual, highly publicised foray into a complex corruption case in Brunei (at the behest of Brunei's AGC) that he successfully prosecuted," he said. 

"His track record proves his strength in depth in both civil law and criminal law that Hri will bring to his new office.

"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. The Council and I look forward to working closely with the new deputy Attorney-General."

Justice Chong was appointed Judicial Commissioner in October 2009, and a High Court Judge in June 2010, after more than 20 years in private practice.

He assumed the position of Attorney-General on June 25, 2012, and he was re-appointed as a Judge of the High Court on June 25, 2014.

His specialisations include finance, securities, banking, complex commercial cases, arbitration, company, insolvency, trusts, shipping and insurance. He has also been tasked by the Chief Justice to hear appeals in the Court of Appeal from time to time.

Mr Tan, who joined the legal service in 1979, was previously prosecutor in the Attorney-General's Chambers, Director of the Commercial Affairs Department and Chief District Judge of the then-Subordinate Courts.

Mr Tan was appointed Judicial Commissioner in October 2013 and was elevated to the Bench in July 2014.

He assumed his current position as deputy Attorney-General in February 2015.

Judicial Commissioner Ramesh was the managing partner of Messrs Tan Kok Quan Partnership from 2008 until his appointment as Judicial Commissioner in May 2015.

While on the Bench, Judicial Commissioner Ramesh presided over civil matters including the corporate restructuring of Pacific Andes Resources Development Limited and its associates, Swiber Holdings Ltd and its associates and Swissco Holdings Limited, the shareholders dispute concerning the Capitol Development, and several significant arbitration matters.

With the above appointments, the Supreme Court will have a total of 18 Judges (including five Judges of Appeal and the Chief Justice), eight Judicial Commissioners, five Senior Judges and 12 International Judges.