As the curtains draw close on this academic year, I am grateful for the opportunity to take stock of some of the highlights from our year at the NUS Criminal Justice Club, and express our gratitude to our sponsors, advisors, and members that made it possible.
Pro Bono Work
CJC is honoured to have been awarded the RHT Law Asia Subhas Anandan Pro Bono Grant for the Academic Year 2022-2023, which supported our pro bono efforts for the year.
Pictured: Mr John Thomas George (President, CJC) receiving the Grant on behalf of CJC from Mr Yang Eu Jin (Partner, RHT Law Asia)
The CJC-CLAS Project continues to promote student volunteering in criminal law pro bono work, sending many tireless volunteers on attachments with the ProBonoSG Office and individual practitioners engaged in live cases under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, or the Legal Aid Scheme for Capital Offences. The Recourse Initiative Project has also continued to expand, taking on dozens of requests from incarcerated persons, to review their cases. We are proud of our two pro bono arms, who were able to respond to every request that they received this year. The good work continues, as our Events Project prepares to conduct the NPCC Basic Law Course 2023, to raise awareness of criminal law issues among the youth.
Enhancing Knowledge of the Law
2023 saw the return of events held in-person, and we were honoured to play host to Ministers, senior practitioners, and alumni alike, who took the time to discuss contemporary criminal law issues with NUS students at our events. Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ms Rahayu Mahzam, graced our annual Forensic Science Conference as the Keynote Speaker, joining a distinguished panel alongside Mr Eugene Thuraisingam, Mr Leon Chan, Dr Kenneth Koh and Professor Eric Chan, who considered recent trends and developments in the rise of drug abuse and trafficking offences here. CJC is grateful for the support of Kalco Law LLC, I.R.B. Law LLP, and Regal Law LLC, who sponsored the event.
Pictured: Our discussion panel at the Forensic Science Conference 2023
In keeping with our mission to promote student engagement with criminal law issues outside of our classrooms, the CJC Events Project organized the Criminal Practioner’s Dialogue and Behind the Books Dialogue. The annual Behind the Books Dialogue for this year was based on a discussion of the Actus Reus and Mens Rea elements of Section 300(c) of the Penal Code, and we were fortunate for the knowledge imparted by Professor Kumaralingam Amirthalingam, Adjunct Professor Bala Reddy and Mr Julian Tay, who were involved in some of the landmark cases.
Pictured: Our panel for the Behind the Books Dialogue 2023
Refining Crucial Professional Skills
There were ample opportunities for our students to hone their advocacy skills at the annual Attorney-General’s Cup, where our finalists battled it out before a distinguished panel comprising Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar S.C, The Honorable Justice Aedit Abdullah, and The Honorable Justice Mavis Chionh.
Pictured: Our Judges and Finalists at the Finals of the Attorney-General’s Cup 2023
CJC-Forensic’s annual Expert Witness Advocacy Cup, sponsored by Vaswani Law Chambers LLC, was open to students from both the NUS Law, and NUS Forensic Science courses. Aspiring litigators and expert witnesses alike were given the chance to hone their courtroom skills and engage with the complexities of forensic science in the context of a complex trial.
Pictured: Our Judges and Finalists at the Finals of the Expert Witness Advocacy Cup 2023
We are also proud of our CJC members from across our projects, who have contributed academic articles on contemporary legal issues to the newly launched Criminal Law Digest, and we hope to carry on this momentum into the coming year. The stage is now set for our Military Justice Project, who have finished penning the Defending Officer’s Guidebook. This Guidebook is a compendium of the hard-won knowledge of our volunteers and alumni, unified in their desire to bring clarity to the military justice process for active servicemen. MJP is targeting an official launch of the Guidebook in tandem with their annual Military Justice Roundtable Conference, to be held later this year.
Recent developments have thrust the concept of criminal justice back into the spotlight of contemporary public debate, and even prompted a reevaluation by the legal profession over its responsibility for criminal pro bono work. Just as the concept of criminal justice continues to take on the changing colours of the moving social and legal landscape in Singapore, we here at the NUS Criminal Justice Club continue to look for new ways to understand, to help, and to meaningfully engage with this process.
Written by John Thomas George (NUS CJC President, 2022/2023)