Citation for C C Tan Award 2019
This citation was read by Vice-President Adrian Tan at the Law Society’s annual dinner on 15 November 2019.
It is my privilege and honour to read the citation for the C C Tan Award of 2019.
This award is named after the first President of the Law Society of Singapore, Mr Tan Chye Cheng. C C Tan had a long and illustrious professional career. He embodied the finest and noblest virtues of the legal profession – honesty, fair play, gentlemanliness and personal integrity. Since 2003, it has been the Law Society’s tradition each year to recognise and honour a member of our profession who best personifies the model example and ideals set by our very first President.
Our C C Tan Award recipient this year is my friend, Mr Amolat Singh.
Amolat was admitted to the Bar in 1993, after leaving military service. He practised in two Singapore law firms before setting up his own firm in 1994 – Amolat & Partners. He has never looked back since. Amolat is no stranger to awards. He has been the recipient of awards from Supreme Court, Family Justice Courts and MINDEF, just to name a few in recognition of his pro bono endeavours. C C Tan Award however recognises Amolat for his disposition and character and why he will be a good role model for young lawyers.
Amolat himself has always said whether in conversations or media interviews that he had a good mentor in the late Subhas Anandan. In fact, Amolat started volunteering for LASCO trials as an assisting counsel to Subhas Anandan. He said he was very fortunate in that at the start of his career, he had somebody like that to shadow and learn. Having benefited from mentorship, Amolat feels mentorship is important for younger lawyers. He said this during an interview with a papers – “It helps them find some bearing in life, then they will stay the course. For mentorship to reap rewards, young lawyers must learn to voice their concerns, and senior lawyers have to make time to address these worries.”
He is a gentleman. He personifies the measured and balanced lawyer that many of us should strive to become. The warrior poet who loves his pens more than his swords.
Those of you who have had the fortune of having Amolat as a mediator know that he will bring an uncanny calmness to matters even when parties are spoiling for a fight.
Those of us at the criminal and family bars know that we have an ally in the process once we see that Amolat is either appearing as co-counsel or opposing counsel. We know that a straight talker is on board and there will not be any funny business.
Another criminal lawyer, Mr Sunil Sudheesan, describes his own indelible experience with Amolat when Amolat took over a matter from him.
“He successfully overturned the conviction of an accused person who faced the death penalty. Justice of Appeal Rajah said that Amolat ‘mounted a root-and-branch criticism of the Trial Judge’s decision’ and Amolat’s intense efforts saved a man’s life. The thing is, Amolat knew I was feeling lousy about losing my first case as lead counsel in the High Court and bothered to ring me. Amolat was kind enough to tell me that he mounted the same arguments raised in the Court below and the Court of Appeal bought them. That’s the kind of guy he is. He knew a young lawyer (it was a long time ago) was feeling down and took the time to cheer me up. But I also knew he obviously did more work than I and charmed the Court (as he tends to do) with his eloquence.”
Amolat is also a loving family man. The grief of Gina’s passing is still too near, but we can only imagine the pride she felt in him.
Finally, Amolat is the Knight for many clients who come to him for help and he will fight for his clients to achieve fair outcomes. He is a leader of the Criminal Bar, serving as Vice-Chair to the Law Society’s Criminal Practice Committee and Vice President of the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore.
Amolat personifies the values celebrated by the C C Tan Award and is a good model for younger lawyers to aspire to. Council is pleased to present Amolat Singh with the C C Tan Award this year.
May I now invite the President of the Law Society to present this award and welcome the 2019 CC Tan Award recipient, Mr Amolat Singh onto the stage to receive the award and deliver his acceptance speech.