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Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon: Welcome Address delivered at Judiciary Volunteers Appreciation Lunch 2022

Judiciary Volunteers Appreciation Lunch 2022

Welcome Address

The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon

1. Good afternoon, and welcome to this year’s Judiciary Volunteers Appreciation Lunch. For a number of years, we have held an annual event to recognise the volunteers who generously give their time to aid the work of the Supreme Court, State Courts and Family Justice Courts, and to celebrate their achievements in support of our mission to administer justice. Our volunteers take on a range of work, from conducting mediations to assisting litigants who cannot afford legal representation, and their contributions play a critical role in the delivery of justice in Singapore.

2. Unfortunately, we were unable to hold such an event for the last two years due to the pandemic; instead, each court volunteer received a small token of appreciation from the Judiciary. Now that we can finally meet in person again, I would like to reiterate our heartfelt appreciation towards all of you for offering your time and energies to support the work of the Judiciary over the past three years, even as you faced disruptions in your own daily lives due to the pandemic. I would also like to take this opportunity to offer my congratulations once again to the winners of the judiciary volunteers’ awards in 2020 and 2021, who did not have the opportunity to receive their awards in person.

3. Today, we will be giving out 12 Long Service Awards to court volunteers who have been working with us for 10, 15, or a remarkable 20 years. We will also be giving the 2022 Outstanding Court Volunteer Awards to three deserving volunteers for the outstanding contributions that each of them has made this year:

The work of both Ms Koh and Dr Ong also illustrates the great potential of mediation in resolving disputes, with both of them bringing the parties to an amicable settlement in a large majority of the cases that they have mediated: a very commendable record.

(a) First, Dr Ong Geok Quee receives the Outstanding Court Volunteer Award in the Open category. One of our most senior and experienced volunteer mediators, Dr Ong has kept himself at the leading edge by acquiring e-Mediation skills and has successfully conducted numerous mediations via Zoom this year.

(b) Next, the Outstanding Court Volunteer Award in the Advocate & Solicitor category goes to Ms Deborah Koh Leng Hoon. Despite her busy practice, Ms Koh has volunteered to mediate almost 50 cases over the past three years, and half of them in the past year alone.

(c)  Last but not least, Ms Miranda Tan receives the Outstanding Court Volunteer Award in the Student category. Miranda was the most prolific volunteer in the Aid-in-Person Pilot Project. She assisted unrepresented accused persons who were pleading guilty to draft their mitigation pleas. In doing so, she and her fellow student volunteers helped the courts mete out sentences that were fair.

4.  As we celebrate our award recipients, I would also like to acknowledge each and every one of you gathered here today. I hope you recognise that every time you answer a call to volunteer, you make a real impact on the lives of the court users you interact with. Whether it is a civil dispute or a criminal proceeding, the occasion for an ordinary person to interact with the justice system is rarely a happy one, and it would be made that much more difficult and stressful without your help. On behalf of the Judiciary and all those who have benefited from your contributions, I would like to thank you for dedicating your time to the important cause of access to justice in Singapore. I hope that your efforts have been as fulfilling for you as they have been helpful to the beneficiaries of your assistance. Thank you very much, and I hope that you enjoy today’s lunch.


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