Ex-judge's humility captured in oral history interview

Prominent lawyer and former Supreme Court judge Joseph Grimberg, who died last month, gave an oral history interview in March 2010.
Prominent lawyer and former Supreme Court judge Joseph Grimberg, who died last month, gave an oral history interview in March 2010.

One of the more than 3,200 oral history interviews kept at the National Archives of Singapore's Archives Online website is that of prominent lawyer and former Supreme Court judge Joseph Grimberg.

Mr Grimberg, who died last month aged 84, was well eulogised by some of the best legal minds here, including Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Law Minister K. Shanmugam and Drew & Napier's executive chairman, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh.

Mr Grimberg, who Mr Singh described as winning "all the prizes for integrity, humanity and humility" in life, as in the law, typically reacted with modesty to accolades.

When told about praise from others in an oral history interview in March 2010 conducted by the Singapore Academy of Law, and now archived, Mr Grimberg responded by quipping: "I cannot understand how I managed to con people into saying such nice things about me."

He then added: "I think it was the ethical side that impressed them more than the legal acumen. People tended to be impressed by the way I treated everybody fairly and did not throw my weight around. I used to work very, very hard, and that impressed them."

 

K. C. Vijayan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-judge's humility captured in oral history interview'. Print Edition | Subscribe