Former A-G ties up with London firm to start self-employed legal practice

Former attorney-general V.K. Rajah has linked up with leading English law firm Essex Court Chambers to set up a unique self-employed legal practice here that has roped in a quartet of outstanding legal talent.

Senior Counsel Rajah will be joined by renowned Queen's Counsel Toby Landau, now a practising Singapore lawyer, as well as three former Justices' Law Clerks: Mr Tham Lijing, Mr Colin Liew and Mr Calvin Liang. Justices' Law Clerks usually hold a first-class law degree.

London-based Essex Court Chambers (ECC), in a statement on Tuesday, said: "They will commence self-employed legal practice as members of Essex Court Chambers Duxton (Singapore Group Practice) from 19 Duxton Hill, Singapore."

ECC is a leading set of barristers' chambers specialising in commercial litigation, arbitration, public law and public international law. It is not a firm, nor are its members partners or employees. Instead, ECC is comprised of individual barristers, each of whom is a self-employed sole practitioner.

This "chambers model" of individual self-employed specialist lawyers boosts client choice in getting the best legal representation.

QC David Foxton, head of chambers at ECC, said the Duxton practice will add value to the dynamic legal sector in Singapore, and contribute to cementing the Republic's position as a global legal hub.

Mr Rajah, who served as a Supreme Court judge and Judge of Appeal before becoming A-G from 2014 to last year, said he wanted "to find a role that would embrace excellence and personal autonomy", after having left public service.

Mr Rajah, who served as a Supreme Court judge and Judge of Appeal before becoming attorney-general from 2014 to last year, said he wanted "to find a role that would embrace excellence and personal autonomy", after having left public service.

He added that ECC is a world-renowned set of independent advocates committed to excellence, whose members regularly receive instructions from law firms all over the world, and act for businesses, governments and international institutions.

He said: "Singapore's first pure chambers practice introduces a different concept of specialised legal services that will focus on advisory and advocacy work. This new platform will give Singapore and the region a wider choice in first-tier legal services, in both domestic litigation and international arbitration briefs. I look forward to this exciting venture."

Law Society president Gregory Vijayendran yesterday said Mr Rajah continues "to make waves wherever he goes. This time, the waves are global. The unique specialist advocate practice pioneered by Essex Court Chambers Duxton is a bold and innovative law firm model for Singapore.

"VK's stature will add lustre to the brightness of some of Singapore's brightest in law, in this set up."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2017, with the headline 'Former A-G ties up with London firm to start self-employed legal practice'. Print Edition | Subscribe