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Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon: Address delivered for the book launch at the Valedictory Reference 2022

Book Launch – Pursuing Justice and Justice Alone:

the Heart and Humanity of Andrew Phang’s Jurisprudence

Ladies and Gentlemen:

1. Please allow me to impose on you for just a little longer. We have just heard a total of 7 speeches celebrating the life and career of Justice Andrew Phang, and we also heard his heartfelt response. I ask you to bear with me for just a couple more minutes. I said in my earlier address that this Reference was not the occasion to dive into the details of Andrew’s jurisprudence. And indeed, it would not have been possible for us to do justice to the astounding body of case law that Andrew has been responsible for, within the confines of the time constraints applicable to the Reference.

2. I therefore decided, upon learning of Andrew’s planned retirement, to commission a book to celebrate his judicial work. Andrew had himself undertaken the immense task of editing and coordinating a similar volume to celebrate the life and work of Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong and then, with Yihan, another volume in honour of Justice Chao Hick Tin. It seemed entirely appropriate, indeed essential because of the scale of Andrew’s impact on Singapore law, that we do something similar for him, and I could think of no one better than Yihan to take on the task of editing and coordinating this work.

3. We will shortly be launching this publication, which I think is not only a tribute to Andrew’s immense legacy of judicial work but is also a valuable contribution to our legal history. I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to Yihan for bringing this wonderful project to fruition. I also want to thank the entire team of contributing writers who generously gave of their time and turned in 18 excellent chapters, the team at Academy Publishing and in particular the lead editor Elizabeth Sheares for the outstanding work they did in putting the publication together, and the staff at the Supreme Court who organized this entire part of the proceedings without Andrew’s knowledge.

4. Let me say just a word about the title of the book, which is Pursuing Justice and Justice Alone: the Heart and Humanity of Andrew Phang’s Jurisprudence. The title was arrived at through Yihan’s and my joint efforts after we thought long and hard about it. The title draws its inspiration from Deuteronomy 16:20, where Moses gives his final instructions to the People of Israel as they were about to enter the Promised Land, and directed them to pursue justice and justice alone so that they may live well and prosper. We thought this was an excellent way to encapsulate the life mission that has been Andrew’s, and we wanted very much to emphasise the heart and humanity of Andrew that shines through in his work, even brighter than his brilliance. Andrew, I hope you will find that especially meaningful.

5. Finally, let me also express my heartfelt thanks to Sock Yong, and Andrew’s Chambers Manager Carol, who both assisted Yihan with the selection of photographs while keeping this whole project under wraps. As far as I know this is a surprise to Andrew! Andrew, this is a special tribute from all of us to you to give you some small idea of what you mean to us! It is now my pleasure to turn the floor to Yihan, who will say a little more.

Topics: speech, speeches


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