C C Tan Award 2022
The citation for the C C Tan Award 2022 was read by Vice-President Jason Chan, SC at the Law Society’s annual dinner on 18 November 2022. The C C Tan Award was conferred on Mr Chew Kei-Jin.
The C.C. Tan award is an annual award from the Law Society of Singapore recognising members who exemplify the virtues of honesty, fair play and personal integrity.
On behalf of Council, I am pleased to announce that the C C Tan Award 2022 goes to Mr Chew Kei-Jin, Managing Partner of Norton Rose Fulbright Ascendant, Chairperson of the Law Society’s Solicitors Accounts Rules Committee for the past five years, and incoming Council member.
Throughout his 28 years in practice, Kei-Jin is known to have consistently displayed the highest ideals of the legal profession, namely integrity and fairness. He is a respected litigation and international arbitration lawyer, and one who prefers to accomplish his objectives without unnecessary fanfare.
Kei-Jin is an accomplished advocate and is known as a true gentleman who does not take unfair advantage of an opponent. His words can always be relied upon.
Kei-Jin is on the Law Society of Singapore’s panel of prosecuting counsel and has acted for the Law Society in disciplinary hearings against lawyers. He also acts pro bono for lawyers in disciplinary cases and soldiers in court martial cases. As a volunteer magistrate at the Small Claims Tribunal, Kei-Jin endeavours to deliver justice to the man in the street.
Kei-Jin exemplifies the exceptional values celebrated by the C C Tan Award. He is a fine model for younger lawyers to aspire to. On behalf of the Council of the Law Society, it is my great pleasure to present Chew Kei-Jin with the C C Tan Award 2022.
Judges, President of Law Society, Council Members, Distinguished Guests, colleagues at the Bar, members of the legal fraternity, ladies and gentlemen.
1. Thank you Mr President and Council Members of the Law Society for this C C Tan Award. I am humbled. It is an enormous honour and privilege to be this year’s recipient.
2. The C C Tan Award has a particular significance for me because I spent most of my professional years, and indeed my formative years in practice, at Tan Rajah & Cheah, which is the firm founded by Mr C C Tan, together with Dr A P Rajah and Mr Cheah Heng Sin.
3. It was at Tan Rajah & Cheah that I learned about honesty, fair play, courtesy and professional integrity. It was what was expected of those who practised there. And it was under the guidance and tutelage of Chelva Rajah that the qualities for which this award represents became part of me as a member of the Bar. So I stand here before you this evening in large part because of Tan Rajah & Cheah, and because of Chelva Rajah. As a matter of interest, Chelva was the first recipient of the award and in 2016, another partner of the firm, Mr Chandra Mohan was also a recipient.
4. However, apart from the recognition of an individual practitioner, I think that the C C Tan Award serves a more important purpose – it is to remind all of us of the value which the Law Society and the legal profession in general, places on the way we all conduct ourselves with each other and with the Bench. In the other words, it not just about me – it is about all of us.
5. While we must all represent our client’s interests to the best of our ability, and many members of the Bar go through admirable lengths to do so, this does not mean we must pursue our client’s cause at all costs, to the detriment to our relationship with each other and to the detriment of the ideals of the profession. What the C C Tan Award tells us every year is that the practice of law should be anchored to the ideals of honesty, fair play, courtesy and professional integrity.
6. I try to be honest, I try to be fair, I try to be courteous and I try to practise with integrity. In other words, I try to meet these ideals. I try to do what is right by my clients, I try to do what is right by my colleagues at the Bar and I try to do what is right when I appear before the Bench. I do not always succeed, but I try. And this C C Tan Award is one way in which the Law Society reminds us all to also keep trying.
7. So I receive this award in the humble knowledge that it is part a bigger message to all of you, to you my colleagues and friends, which is that we should try to treat each other with dignity, with respect, with honesty, courtesy and with integrity. It is what Mr C C Tan did every day; it is what he stood for.
8. Once again, I thank the Council for honouring me with this award. I wish the outgoing and incoming Council members all the best in serving both the profession and society. Finally, I wish all of you in the legal fraternity good health and happiness.