The National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (NUS Law) today recognised the legacy of the late former Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin, Singapore’s first and longest-serving Chief Justice, by naming their Moot Court in his honour.
NUS Pro-Chancellor and former Chief Justice Dr Chan Sek Keong officiated the Moot Court naming ceremony as the Guest-of-Honour, in the presence of Mrs Cecilia Wee Chong Jin, wife of Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin, members of the Wee family and about 50 guests, including donors, members of the legal fraternity and faculty members.
NUS Law launched the fundraising campaign in 2016 to name the Moot Court after Chief Justice Wee. The funds raised will be used to support student learning and activities, including mooting and other competitions, as well as other international opportunities that enhance the advocacy and legal practice skills of NUS Law students.
Professor Simon Chesterman, Dean of NUS Faculty of Law, said, “It is a privilege for NUS Law to name our Moot Court after the late Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin, recognising his remarkable achievements and many contributions to the legal fraternity and the rule of law in Singapore. We are deeply grateful for the generosity of Mrs Wee and her family, as well as the benefactors who have made this possible. Law students sharpen their competencies in legal research and advocacy through activities such as mooting. The endowment we have created will go a long way to advance that training, while also ensuring that our best students can participate in national, regional and global competitions regardless of their financial backgrounds.”
A Tribute to Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin
Chief Justice Wee Chong Jin read law at St John’s College, Cambridge and practiced in Malaysia and Singapore from 1940 to 1957. He was the first Asian lawyer to be appointed to the position of a judge at the Supreme Court of Singapore on 15 August 1957, and was subsequently appointed Chief Justice of Singapore on 5 January 1963.
As Singapore’s first Chief Justice, Mr Wee played a vital role in developing Singapore’s legal system in the decades after independence, ultimately holding that position for more than 27 years. To date, he remains the longest-serving Chief Justice in the Commonwealth.
Chief Justice Wee also served as the first chairman of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights from 1973, and led the Council for 18 years. As Chief Justice, he was instrumental in the setting up of the Singapore Academy of Law and was appointed as its first president after its establishment in 1988. For his tremendous contributions to the Singapore judiciary during the country’s formative years, Chief Justice Wee was conferred an honorary doctorate in civil law by Oxford University in 1987.
In April 1992, Chief Justice Wee was made an Honorary Member and Fellow of the Singapore Academy of Law for life, an honour only bestowed on distinguished members for outstanding contributions to the legal and judicial system and to the stature of the legal profession here.
Mr Laurence Wee, son of Chief Justice Wee, said, “We are proud to have the Moot Court at Singapore’s national law school named after my father, in commemoration of his contributions of over 27 years as our first Singaporean Chief Justice to the development of Singapore’s legal landscape. My father always had a deep passion for the personal and professional development of lawyers, and I think he would have been very pleased to know that the funds raised will make a big difference in the development of the lawyers of tomorrow.”
Wee Chong Jin Moot Court Endowed Fund
To-date, more than $4.6 million has been raised, including government matching, thanks to the contributions from the Wee family, Kuok (Singapore) Limited Group of Companies, the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation, The Grace, Shua and Jacob Ballas Foundation, the Wee Foundation, and the support from family friends, law firms and various members of the legal fraternity.