Professional practice

Mr V K Rajah SC was born in Singapore in 1957. He graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1982 with several prizes for academic merit and subsequently obtained an LLM (First Class) from University of Cambridge in 1986.

He was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 1983, and commenced legal practice with Rajah & Tann that same year. He was the Managing Partner of Rajah & Tann from 1987 to 2003, prior to his elevation to the Bench. He was appointed a Senior Counsel in 1997.

He was appointed a Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Singapore on 2 January 2004 and thereafter a Judge on 1 November 2004. On 11 April 2007, he was appointed a Judge of Appeal. He assumed office as the Attorney-General of the Republic of Singapore on 25 June 2014 and remained there until his retirement on 13 January 2017. V K Rajah SC, by virtue of his holding office as a Judge of the Supreme Court for more than 3 years does not enjoy right of audience in any court of justice in Singapore (see section 26(2) of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161)). He is, however, able to advise on all aspects of court work.

 

Commercial dispute resolution, mediation and expert advice

While he was in practice, VK was acknowledged as a leading practitioner in Singapore/Asia in a number of legal journals; Asia Pacific Legal 500 (1998/1999 , 1999/2000, 2000/2001 , 2001/2002, 2002/2003), Global Counsel (2002/2003), Asian Legal Business

Legal Who’s Who Singapore (2003), AsiaLaw Profiles (1998 -2003), Asia Law Leading Lawyers (1997 – 2003), Euromoney World’s Leading Lawyers on Insolvency (2000 /2001), International Financial Law Review 1000 (2001) and IFLR’s Guide to the World’s Leading Insolvency and Restructuring Lawyers (2003).

He was appointed an Honorary Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple on 11 November 2014 and appointed a Distinguished Fellow of the Singapore Management University, commencing 15 November 2017. He is a Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore until October 2020. He is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Asian Business Law Institute.

While on the Bench, he authored more than 200 reported judgments.  Currently, he undertakes arbitration work as well as a limited amount of commercial dispute resolution work and mediation.

Arbitration experience

VK authored the following appellete judgments on Arbitration issues:

  • Motor Image Enterprises Pte Ltd v SCDA Architects Pte Ltd [2012] 1 SLR 258
  • CRW Joint Operation v PT Perusahaan Gas Negara (Persero) TBK [2011] 4 SLR 305
  • Larsen Oil and Gas Pte Ltd v Petroprod Ltd (in official liquidation in the Cayman Islands and in compulsory liquidation in Singapore) [2011] 3 SLR 414
  • Tjong Very Sumito and others v Antig Investments Pte Ltd [2009] 4 SLR(R) 732
  • Carona Holdings Pte Ltd and others v Go Go Delicacy Pte Ltd [2008] 4 SLR(R) 460
  • NCC International AB v Alliance Concrete Singapore Pte Ltd [2008] 2 SLR(R) 565
  • Ng Chin Siau and others v How Kim Chuan [2007] 4 SLR(R) 809
  • Soh Beng Tee & Co Pte Ltd v Fairmount Development Pte Ltd [2007] 3 SLR(R) 86
  • Progen Engineering Pte Ltd v Winter Engineering (S) Pte Ltd [2006] SGHC 224

While in private practice, VK was involved in numerous SIAC, AAA, ICC and ad hoc arbitrations, both as counsel and as arbitrator.

What others say

In a Valedictory Letter dated 14 January 2017 addressed to him on his retirement as Attorney-General, Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thanked VK for his outstanding contributions to Singapore over the past 13 years, and said:

You left a mark during your decade on the Supreme Court Bench, contributing prolifically to Singapore’s jurisprudence. Many of your judgments have shaped the development of Singapore law…

Beyond the courtroom, you helmed committees which have enhanced the administration of justice and the vibrancy of our legal profession. …

In every appointment, you have carried out your duties with dynamism and commitment. You have improved our legal system, and made a difference to future generations of lawyers.

Last year, when I asked you to continue as Attorney-General beyond the current term, you told me that you had decided to retire from public service and pursue a more active role in the arbitration sector. I respect your decision, and look forward to your contributing in this new capacity to promote Singapore as an international arbitration hub.

(http://www.pmo.gov.sg/newsroom/valedictory-letter-pm-lee-hsien-loong-attorney-general-v-k-rajah-sc)

 

Publications

Articles

  1. Article on The Case For Singapore To Take The Lead In International Arbitration Ethics (to be published)
  2. Article on Prosecution of financial crimes and its relationship to a culture of compliance in Comp. Law. 2016, 37(4), 122-129
  3. Article on W(h)ither Adversarial Commercial Dispute Resolution? in Arbitr Int (2016) aiv075, published on 19 January 2016
  4. Opinion Editorial on Financial crime: Leaders can instil spirit of compliance in The Business Times, 4 November 2015 at p25
  5. Paper on The Incorporation of Technology in Court Advocacy in International Conference on Electronic Litigation, Academy Publishing, 2012 at p34
  6. Article on Redrawing The Boundaries of Contractual Interpretation – From Text to Context to Pre-Text and Beyond, (2010) 22 SAcLJ 513
  7. Article on Judicial Dynamism in International Trade in Hong Kong and Singapore – An Indivisible Link [comments], 40 Hong Kong L.J. 815 (2010)
  8. Paper on Judicial Education in Singapore – Beyond The Horizon, Asia Pacific Courts Conference (3 October 2010)
  9. Co-author of an article entitled: The current Status Of Corporate Governance In ASEAN and Challenges In Connection Therewith (18th Biennial Conference of LAWASIA 2003)
  10. Paper delivered to Chairmen of Temasek Linked Companies on “Managing Shareholder Activism in Annual General Meetings – A Chairman’s Guide” (2002)
  11. Co-author of an article entitled: Telecommunications Regulations in Singapore: Will the tortoise beat the hare? (4th LawAsia Business Law Conference 2000)
  12. Co-author of an article entitled: Civil Consequences of Economic Crimes – Present & Future (International Economic Crime Conference 2000)
  13. Article on “The Evolving Asian Legal Practice” [1999] 23 ABLR 42
  14. Co-author of an article entitled: Choice of Law Clauses and the Limits on Party Autonomy (Current Legal Issues in International Commercial Litigation 1997)
  15. Co-author of an article entitled: Re Charge Card, Problems, Practice and Statutory Reversal (1993) ABLR 87
  16. Article entitled Reflections on the Impetus for Change and Some Observations on the Internal Tensions Vexing Medium Sized Firms, [1991] 2 S.AC. L.J. 177
  17. Co-author of a series of articles: The case for a Reappraisal and Restatement of the Doctrine of Stare Decisis in Singapore [1990] 2 MLJ 1 1xxxi
  18. Article on Extra judicial power of sale of an equitable mortgagee of registered land in Singapore: Judicial Recognition [1984] 1 MLJ cxxxii
  19. Article on Conflict of Laws; Civil jurisdiction: a brief examination of the English and Singapore positions Law Times, 1982

Books

  1. Contributor to Singapore Civil Procedure 2003
  2. Co-author of ‘Judicial Management in Singapore’ published by Butterworths in 1990
  3. Subject advisor to Butterworths on Statutory Interpretation for the 4th edition of Mallal’s Digest (Vol. 11)
  4. Chapter on Judicial Management: Implications for Bankers (Published by Butterworths in Current Developments in International Banking and Corporate Financial Operations [1989])
  5. Contributor to first chapter, Interpreting the Singapore Constitution, of Constitutional Interpretation in Singapore: Theory and Practice published by Rouledge in 2016

Speeches

  1. Speech at Opening of Legal Year 2015, Singapore 
  2. Speech at Opening of Legal Year 2016, Singapore
  3. Speech at Opening of Legal Year 2017, Singapore
  4. Commencement Speech at 2017 National University of Singapore, Law faculty Commencement, 8 July 2017

Committee Reports

  1. Co-Chairperson of the Recommendations of the Committee for Family Justice on the framework of the family Justice system, 4 July 2014
  2. Co-Chairperson of the Report of The Singapore International Commercial Court Committee , November 2013
  3. Chairperson of the Report of the 4th Committee on The Supply of Lawyers, May 2013
  4. Chairperson of the Report of the Committee to Develop The Singapore Legal Sector, September 2007