Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Singapore judiciary mourns passing of former lawyer and Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew

SINGAPORE - The judiciary here mourns the passing of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew - a "much admired and respected member" of the local Bar, said Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon on Monday.

"We, in the judiciary, express our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the family of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time," Chief Justice Menon said.

Mr Lee, who read law in Cambridge University, was called to the Singapore Bar on Aug 7, 1951, and practised law until he took office as Prime Minister in 1959.

In his vision for Singapore, he saw that it was of the first importance for the country to have a strong and vital legal system, said Chief Justice Menon. This included first-rate law schools, a strong and able profession and an outstanding Singapore Legal Service led by a free, independent and incorrupt judiciary.

Mr Lee's push for continuous learning and for judges and senior lawyers to be inspirational mentors for younger lawyers led to the establishment of the Singapore Academy of Law in 1988.

"To Mr Lee, the worth of a legal system was to be assessed not simply by the greatness or grandeur of its theoretical underpinnings, but more importantly, by whether it operated well at a practical level to ensure order and justice in dealings among citizens, and also in the relationship between the citizenry and the state.

"These ideals remain relevant to the judiciary and to our society today," said Chief Justice Menon.