While the books they write may not be a hit with commercial publishers driven by profit, the material they publish is steered by the needs of Singapore's legal community.
"Academy Publishing was not established with the primary intent of making a profit but instead was established with the mission to serve the legal profession," said Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon at an event last Friday to mark its 10th year.
Founded in 2007 as the publishing arm of the Singapore Academy of Law by then Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, Academy Publishing (AP) has grown its market share of local legal publications to become a leader in this field and "has elevated Singapore (in the context of the legal community) to a level of publishing comparable to other primary legal jurisdictions", said National University of Singapore (NUS) law professor Jeffrey Pinsler.
Its 10th anniversary was celebrated with a commemorative work titled Imprints Of Singapore Law: A Brief History Of Legal Publishing In Singapore. The book traces the history of legal publishing in Singapore since the 19th century.
Judge of Appeal Andrew Phang, in a foreword to the book, said it was important to take stock of legal publishing in Singapore.
He noted that it was imperative to remember "our foundations" and that legal publishing here was an integrated effort involving various other publishers as well, like Lexis Nexis, Thomson Reuters' Sweet and Maxwell, and Marshall Cavendish.
THE LARGER PERSPECTIVE
The other thing that AP does really well is to support publications about Singapore's legal history. This is an important role in reminding us that it... is about context, the larger perspective.
NUS LAW ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ELEANOR WONG
Speaking at last Friday's event at the Supreme Court building, CJ Menon lauded "the great strides" AP had made in the past 10 years on the three publication fronts: law reports, academic journals and law books.
Among other things, he noted AP now reports about 6,800 pages of judgments in the Singapore Law Reports every year and its SAL Journal has "done very well" in being accredited Tier 1 by NUS' Office of Research for its high-quality scholarship.
Industry players weighed in to underscore AP's efforts, like Singapore Management University (SMU) law dean Goh Yihan, who hailed the publisher for "creating a much needed library of local publications in Singapore". He said this was needed to develop local jurisprudence and its eventual spread beyond Singapore shores.
Rajah and Tann lawyer Kala Anandarajah agreed the critical difference made by AP was to provide literature on Singapore-based law.
NUS law associate professor Eleanor Wong added: "The other thing that AP does really well is to support publications about Singapore's legal history. This is an important role in reminding us that it (our appreciation of law) is about context, the larger perspective. It's not just about the black letter rules."
As for SMU law student Lyndon Seow, "the most important point about an AP book is I can go there and I can get what I want and that's it, I'm done".
Also launched by AP at its 10th anniversary event was the Academy Publishing Awards, presented by CJ Menon to seven "magnificent" contributors for their "untiring efforts" to help build AP's work.
"I am so proud of AP. I think they have done a phenomenal job over the last 10 years and if they can do as well over the next 10 years I will be over the moon," said CJ Menon.