NUS Law Honours Former Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong by Establishing a Visiting Professorship in Public Law
NUS Law has received a S$1.1 million endowed gift from alumni, friends, philanthropists and members of the legal profession to establish the Chan Sek Keong Visiting Professorship in Public Law.
The Professorship celebrates Mr Chan Sek Keong’s far-reaching contributions to the development of Singapore law, in particular public law, and also honours him as one of NUS Law’s most distinguished alumni.
Mr Chan Sek Keong, a member of the inaugural batch of students at NUS Law, attained thepinnacle of practice as a leading banking and corporate lawyer before being appointed Singapore’s first Judicial Commissioner in 1986. He then went on to serve Singapore as Attorney-General and Chief Justice, and was, in 2008, conferred the Order of Temasek (With Distinction).
On Wednesday 30 August 2023, Professor Brian Leiter delivered the inaugural Chan Sek Keong Professorial Lecture titled “Free Speech on the Internet: The Crisis of Epistemic Authority” to a full house at the NUS Bukit Timah Campus. He is the Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the Center for Law, Philosophy & Human Values at the University of Chicago.
In attendance were Mr and Mrs Chan Sek Keong, Senior Judge Kan Ting Chiu and Justices Vinodh Coomaraswamy, Pang Khang Chau and Kannan Ramesh, as well as donors, members of the legal profession and students. The post-lecture discussion was facilitated by Professor David Tan who touched on issues relating to the use of American free speech jurisprudence in Singapore (as raised in The Online Citizen v Attorney-General and Review Publishing Co Ltd v Lee Hsien Loong) and the application of the Spandeck formulation for a duty of care analysis in relation to negligence liability for online harms.
The growth of modern Singapore is underpinned by its commitment to the rule of law, and NUS Law has played a key role in making that commitment possible. Against this backdrop, this Visiting Professorship is an extension of its overarching aim to build up specialist knowledge and deepen expertise of the legal fraternity in Singapore. NUS Law will invite one prominent public law scholar to Singapore each year to speak and interact with its students and faculty on contemporary public law developments and issues in different jurisdictions.
Professor Andrew Simester, Dean of NUS Law, said: “The Chan Sek Keong Visiting Professorship in Public Law serves to cement Mr Chan’s legacy and will continue to benefit the legal profession as well as future generations of NUS Law students by promoting legal discourse and providing enriching educational experiences in the field of Public Law. I thank Mr Chan for allowing us to recognise his vast contributions to the law in this manner, and extend my immense gratitude to all donors for making this happen.”
Professor Simester added: “It is particularly heartening that a majority of the donors are NUS Law alumni. I applaud their spirit of giving to honour Mr Chan and to contribute towards the growth and development of the legal community.”
Mr Allan Ng, the single largest donor, said: “I have had the great privilege of knowing Sek Keong for over 50 years. His remarkable intellect, coupled with his genuine love for the law, have undoubtedly made him one of the best legal brains in Singapore. I am extremely pleased to see the Chan Sek Keong Visiting Professorship in Public Law come to fruition.”