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Media Release: Appointments, extension of appointments and reappointments of Supreme Court judges and international judges to the Singapore International Commercial Court

The President of the Republic of Singapore, in accordance with Article 95 (4)(b) of the Constitution, has appointed Justice Chan Seng Onn (陈成安法官) as Senior Judge of the Supreme Court for a period of two years commencing 5 Jan 2022. At the same time, in accordance with Article 95(4)(c) of the Constitution, the President has appointed two International Judges (IJs) to the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC). Justice Yuko Miyazaki (Japan) will be appointed IJ for the period 5 Jan 2022 to 4 Jan 2024 and Judge Christopher Scott Sontchi (United States) will be appointed IJ for the period 4 Jul 2022 to 4 Jan 2024.

2 The President of the Republic of Singapore, in accordance with Article 95(2) of the Constitution, has also extended the appointment of Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Judith Prakash (上诉庭朱迪柏拉卡斯法官) for a further two-year term with effect from 19 Dec 2021, and Judge of the Appellate Division, Justice Woo Bih Li (高等法庭上诉审判庭法官吴必理法官) for a further three-year term with effect from 31 Dec 2021. 

3 In accordance with Article 95 (4)(b) of the Constitution, the President of the Republic of Singapore has reappointed Justice Andrew Ang (翁安得烈法官) and Justice Lai Siu Chiu (赖秀珠法官) as Senior Judges of the Supreme Court for a period of two years commencing 5 Jan 2022. 

Appointment of Senior Judge

Justice Chan Seng Onn

4 Justice Chan was appointed Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court on 15 Oct 1997. He left the Supreme Court in Jun 2001 to assume the appointment of Solicitor-General before returning to the Bench as a High Court Judge on 2 Jul 2007. As a Judge, he presided over technical factual disputes including construction and shipbuilding, intellectual property and criminal matters. Justice Chan was the President of the Industrial Arbitration Court for 14 years from 2007 to 2021 and has been a member of the Council Law Reporting since 2008. The decisions made and the judgments delivered by Justice Chan during his time on the Bench had richly added to the corpus of Singapore Jurisprudence.

5 Justice Chan’s appointment as a High Court Judge was extended on 4 Jan 2019 for a two-year term upon his retirement. It was extended for another year on 4 Jan 2021. His current term expires on 3 Jan 2022. 

Appointment of International Judges to the SICC

Justice Yuko Miyazaki (Japan)

6 Justice Yuko Miyazaki graduated with a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Tokyo, Japan in 1976, followed by a Masters of Law from the Harvard Law School in 1984. She began her legal career in 1979 as the first full time female lawyer of law firm Nagashima & Ohno, one of Japan’s most prestigious law firms. She left the firm in 1984 to take on the appointment of legal counsel with the World Bank for two years before re-joining Nagashima & Ohno in 1986. She was appointed Partner from 1988 to 2016 and subsequently, Head of Tax Practice Group/Senior Counsel in 2017. In 2018, Justice Miyazaki became the sixth female Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan. She retired in July 2021 and is currently a special advisor with Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu (formerly Nagashima & Ohno). 

7 As a lawyer, she handled mainly corporate, international commercial transactions, taxation (with particular emphasis on international taxation and tax litigation) and financial transactions.  As a Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan, she presided over various appeal cases including civil, administrative, labour, intellectual property and criminal cases. As a visiting professor of the University of Tokyo School of Law from April 2004 to March 2007, Justice Miyazaki contributed to tax education by teaching taxation of financial transactions/products and international taxation. From 2008 to 2010, she taught international taxation at the Kyoto University Law School. Justice Miyazaki was a member of the National Bar Examination Commission from 2011 to 2013. 
 
Judge Christopher Scott Sontchi (United States)

8 Judge Christopher Sontchi obtained his Bachelor of Arts Phi Beta Kappa with a distinction in political science in 1989 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his Juris Doctor from The University of Chicago Law School in 1992 and served as a law clerk in the Delaware Supreme Court from 1992 to 1993. He joined the law firm of Ashby & Geddes in 1993 as an attorney and was with the firm until 2006 where he represented nationally based enterprises with diverse interests in reorganisation proceedings filed in Delaware. Judge Sontchi was appointed Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware in 2006.  He was designated Chief Judge for a three-year term from Jul 2018 to Jun 2021. 

9 Judge Sontchi is a frequent speaker both in the United States and abroad on issues relating to corporate reorganisation. He is also a Lecturer in Law at The University of Chicago Law School and teaches corporate bankruptcy to international judges through the auspices of the World Bank and INSOL International (International Association of Restructuring, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Professionals). Judge Sontchi is a member of the International Insolvency Institute, Judicial Insolvency Network, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, American Bankruptcy Institute and INSOL International. He has published articles on valuation, asset sales and safe harbours for financial contracts. 
 
Extension of appointment of Supreme Court Judges

Justice Judith Prakash

10 Justice Prakash was appointed Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Singapore on 1 Apr 1992 and subsequently a High Court Judge on 1 Apr 1995. She became Singapore’ first female Judge of Appeal on 1 Aug 2016. Since her retirement on 18 Dec 2016, she had been re-appointed twice to the Court of Appeal. 

11 Justice Prakash is the Lead Judge for arbitration. Apart from arbitration, her other areas of specialisation are in finance, securities, banking, complex commercial cases, company, insolvency, trusts, shipping and insurance laws. She has served more than two decades in the Supreme Court and many of her judgments, particularly on arbitration and commercial law, have been influential both domestically and internationally.

12 Justice Prakash’s current term as Justice of the Court of Appeal expires on 18 Dec 2021. 
 
Justice Woo Bih Li

13 Justice Woo was appointed Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Singapore on 2 May 2000 and subsequently a High Court Judge on 2 Jan 2003. He retired on 28 Dec 2019 and was re-appointed Judge of the High Court. Justice Woo was recently appointed Judge of the Appellate Division from 2 Jan 2021 to 30 Dec 2021.

14 As a Judge, Justice Woo’s specialisation is in finance, securities, banking, complex commercial cases, employment, tort claims, public law and judicial review, as well as criminal trials.
 
Reappointment of Senior Judges

Justice Andrew Ang

15 Justice Andrew Ang was first appointed Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court in May 2004 and subsequently a High Court Judge in May 2005. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, he was in private practice. Justice Ang retired in Feb 2014 and returned to the Supreme Court as a Senior Judge in 2015. His appointment as a Senior Judge was extended twice, in 2018 and 2021. His current term will expire on 4 Jan 2022.
 
Justice Lai Siu Chiu

16 Justice Lai Siu Chiu was the first female Judicial Commissioner to be appointed to the Supreme Court in 1991. She subsequently became the first female Judge of the Supreme Court in 1994. Justice Lai was in private practice prior to joining the Supreme Court. She retired from the Bench in Oct 2013 and was appointed Senior Judge in 2015. Justice Lai’s appointment as a Senior Judge was similarly extended twice, in 2018 and 2021.  Her current term will expire on 4 Jan 2022.
 
17 With the above appointments, extension of appointments and reappointments, the Supreme Court will have a total of 28 Judges (including the Chief Justice and four Justices of the Court of Appeal), one Judicial Commissioner, four Senior Judges and 18 International Judges. 

PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE
15 NOV 2021
2021/11/22

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