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PMO Press Release: Appointments/reappointments to the Singapore International Commercial Court

The President of the Republic of Singapore, in accordance with Article 95(4) (C) of the Constitution, has appointed four new International Judges (IJs) to the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) for a period of three years commencing 5 January 2018. They will be sworn in on 8 January 2018 in a ceremony at the Istana.

2. The newly appointed IJs who will hear transnational commercial cases at the SICC are as follows:

  • Justice Robert Shenton French (Australia);
  • Lord David Edmond Neuberger of Abbotsbury (UK);
  • The Hon. Sir Jeremy Lionel Cooke (UK) and
  • The Right Honourable Beverley Marian McLachlin, P.C.(Canada)

Justice Robert Shenton French (Australia)

3. Justice Robert French was a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia for about 22 years before being appointed the Chief Justice of Australia in 2008. After his retirement as Chief Justice in January 2017, he accepted the appointment of non-permanent Judge in the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal. Justice French has a special interest in intellectual property, competition, commercial and public law.

Lord David Edmond Neuberger of Abbotsbury (UK)

4. Lord Neuberger graduated from Oxford University and was called to the Bar in 1974. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1987. In 1996, he was appointed to the Bench and became a Judge of the Court of Appeal in 2004. Lord Neuberger was President of the UK Supreme Court from 2012 to 2017 and has extensive experience in most areas of law including commercial law.

The Hon. Sir Jeremy Cooke (UK)

5. Graduating from Oxford University, Sir Jeremy Cooke was called to the Bar in 1976 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1990. He was appointed High Court Judge, Queen’s Bench, Commercial Court in 2001 and retired in 2016 after 15 years on the Bench. He served as the Judge in charge of the Commercial Court for a time and is highly respected for his expertise in commercial law. He is also known for his expertise in energy, insurance & reinsurance, professional negligence, shipping & maritime law, international trade, banking and derivatives. Justice Cooke is currently an International Judge with the Dubai International Financial Centre.

The Right Honourable Beverley Marian McLachlin, P.C. (Canada)

6. Former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin is the longest serving Chief Justice of Canada. She retired in December 2017 after 28 years at the Supreme Court of Canada. CJ McLachlin was appointed to the Bench of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1981, the Court of Appeal in 1985 and then as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1988. In 1989, she was appointed Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2000. She is currently a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada. CJ McLachlin has dealt with administrative law, family law, commercial and business law, press rights and intellectual property.

Reappointment of 11 International Judges

7. At the same time, the following IJs at the SICC will be reappointed for another three years:

  • Justice Patricia Anne Bergin (Australia)
  • Justice Roger David Giles (Australia);
  • Justice John Dyson Heydon (Australia);
  • Justice Dominique Severano Francois Marie Thiebault Hascher (France);
  • Justice Anselmo Reyes (Hong Kong);
  • Justice Yasuhei Taniguchi (Japan);
  • Justice Vivian Arthur Ramsey (U.K.);
  • Justice Bernard Rix (U.K.);
  • Justice Simon Joe Thorley (U.K.);
  • Justice Carolyn Berger (U.S.A.) and
  • Justice Henry Bernard Eder (UK) (Appointed on 7 May 2015)

8. The IJs were first appointed on 5 January 2015 for a three year term ending 4 January 2018, with the exception of Justice Bernard Eder who was appointed on 7 May 2015 and whose term will end on 6 May 2018. Justice Irmgard Griss, whose term at the SICC also expires on 4 January 2018 has not sought and will not be offered reappointment as she had been elected to the Austrian Parliament.

9. More information on the 11 IJs who have been reappointed to the SICC can be found in Annex A.

10. With the above appointments and reappointments, the number of IJs at the SICC stands at 15.

3 JANUARY 2018

Annex A

Write-ups on the reappointed IJs

Justice Patricia Bergin

Justice Bergin retired from the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 29 January 2017 having been appointed in March 1999. Between 2003 and March 2009 she served as Commercial List Judge administering the work of the busiest Commercial Court in Australia. Justice Bergin was appointed Chief Judge in Equity in March 2009 and served in that role until her retirement.

Justice Roger Giles

Justice Giles graduated from the University of Sydney with a BA in 1961 and LLB (Hons) in 1965, and from the Oxford University with a BCL (Hons) in 1968. After a time in articles and as a solicitor, he was admitted to the NSW Bar in 1971 and became Queen's Counsel in 1983. In 1988, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of NSW, becoming Chief Judge of the Commercial Division in 1994 and a Judge of the Court of Appeal in 1998. He retired from that Court in December 2011. Justice Giles principally practiced in equity and commercial law, but the Court of Appeal took him into most areas of civil and criminal law. He is also a Judge of the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts.

Justice Dyson Heydon

Justice Heydon was a Judge of the New South Wales Court of Appeal from 2000 to 2003, before he was elevated to the High Court of Australia. He retired from the High Court of Australia in 2013 and is currently a Barrister in New South Wales. He is also an Arbitrator of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia.

In 1964, Justice Heydon obtained a BA with First Class Honours in History and the University Medal from the University of Sydney. He was the NSW Rhodes Scholar the same year. He obtained a BA (Oxon) (Jurisprudence) with First Class Honours and the Martin Wronker Prize (shared) in 1966. He obtained a BCL (Oxon) with First Class Honours and the Vinerian Scholarship in 1967. In academia, Justice Heydon was a Fellow in Law at Keble College Oxford from 1967 to 1973, and a Professor of Law at the University of Sydney Law School from 1973 to 1981 (Dean from 1978 to 1979). He then practised at the New South Wales Bar from 1979 to 2000 (Queen’s Counsel from 1987). He was Royal Commissioner into Trade Union, Governance and Corruption in 2014 to 2015. He has also written over thirty books and many articles on equity, evidence, contract, tort and restrictive practices.

Justice Dominique T. Hascher

Justice Hascher was appointed to the Supreme Judicial Court in France as Judge in 2012. He received a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Paris in 1977 and a Master of Laws from Harvard University in 1983 after earning a Fulbright scholarship. He joined the French Judiciary in 1982 as trial court judge before working for the Ministry of Justice in 1986. From 1990 to 1998, he served as the General Counsel and Deputy Secretary General of the ICC International Court of Arbitration. In 1998, he was appointed as Court of Appeal Judge before being promoted to Presiding Judge in 2008.

Justice Hascher has also lectured at the Hague Academy of International Law in 1999 and was visiting Professor at University College London in 2005 and at the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. He is President of the French Society of Comparative Law (2016), Honorary Bencher of Gray’s Inn (2005) and a member of the American Law Institute (2007). Justice Hascher was also President of the Franco-British Lawyers Society from 2005 to 2008.

Justice Anselmo Reyes

Justice Reyes was appointed as a Judge of the Court of First Instance in Hong Kong and served in that capacity from 2003 to 2012. As a Judge, his specialisation was construction, arbitration, commercial and admiralty matters. Justice Reyes obtained a BA (Law), LLM and PhD in Law from Cambridge University in 1982, 1983 and 1987 respectively, and was called to both the Hong Kong and the Singapore Bar. He was appointed Senior Counsel in Hong Kong in 2001. He is currently a Professor of Legal Practice in the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong and is an active practitioner in commercial arbitration. He was Representative of the Hague Conference on Private International Law Asia Pacific Regional Office in Hong Kong from 2013 to 2017. He is also an Overseas Bencher of the Inner Temple.

Justice Yasuhei Taniguchi

Justice Taniguchi has been an academic, teaching at various universities in Japan and other countries like the United States, Hong Kong, Australia, France and China. He has been Professor Emeritus at Kyoto University, Japan, since 1998. Justice Taniguchi is currently a Counsel at Matsuo Kosugi, Tokyo.

He has held various positions such as Chairperson of the Appellate Body of WTO, Council Member of ICCA, President of the Japan Association of Arbitrators, and Member of the Law Revision Commission of the Ministry of Justice of Japan. He was also Chairman of the Rule Making Committee of the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association to draft the new Administrative and Procedural Rules for Arbitration under the Uncitral Arbitration Rules and the totally amended Rules of Commercial Arbitration of JCAA.

Justice Vivian Arthur Ramsey

Justice Ramsey served for nine years on the bench as a Judge of the High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) of England and Wales, including a three-year period as Judge in charge of the Technology and Construction Court, until 2014. He was also judge in charge of the implementation of the Jackson Reforms in the courts in England and Wales from 2012 to 2014.

He was educated in England and the United States, and then studied Engineering Science and Economics at Oxford before becoming a chartered civil engineer. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2013.

In 1979, he was called to the English Bar after studying law at the City University and Inns of Court School of Law. He was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1992 and a Bencher of Middle Temple in 2002. Before his appointment to the bench, he specialised internationally in the area of construction, engineering and technology disputes both in international arbitration and in courts outside the UK.

He is the co-editor of Keating on Construction Contracts, now in its 10th edition. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College, London.

Justice Bernard Rix

Justice Rix has extensive judicial experience at both first instance and appellate levels of court, as a Lord Justice of Appeal in the Court of Appeal of England and Wales from 2000 to 2013; as the Judge in charge of the Commercial Court of London from 1998 to 1999; and a Judge of High Court of Justice from 1993 to 2000. He is recognised for implementing the Woolf Reforms to civil procedure in the London Commercial Court, and for re-drafting the Guide and Practice Directions of that court. Before his appointment to the bench, he specialised in international commercial law and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1981. He is currently a Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Cayman Islands and an arbitrator. He is also a Professor of International Commercial Law at Queen Mary, University of London.

Justice Simon Joe Thorley

Justice Thorley Q.C. studied Jurisprudence at Oxford University from 1968-1971 and received the degree of MA (Hons). He was called to the Bar of England and Wales by the Honourable Society of The Inner Temple in 1972 and then began practice at the Intellectual Property Bar. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1989. Justice Thorley has more than 40 years of experience in Intellectual Property and related law, and was a leading practitioner in that field until he ceased practice in 2014. He was a Deputy High Court Judge in England and Wales and was also the Deputy Chairman of the Copyright Tribunal in the United Kingdom for eight years. He was a co-editor of the 13th-15th Editions of Terrell on the Law of Patents, a standard work of reference on UK patent law. Justice Thorley served as Treasurer of the Inner Temple in 2013.

Justice Carolyn Berger

Justice Carolyn Berger was a Justice on the Delaware Supreme Court, the highest Court in the State of Delaware from 1994 to 2014. Before that, she served for 10 years on the Delaware Court of Chancery, the business trial court in Delaware that specialises in corporate and commercial disputes.

Before serving on the Delaware Courts, Justice Berger was a Deputy Attorney General in the Delaware Attorney General’s office and a corporate litigator in the firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. She also holds a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from Boston University School of Education and taught public school in Boston, Massachusetts, before attending law school.

Born in New York, she received a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law in 1976 and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Widener University School of Law in 1996.

Justice Henry Bernard Eder

Justice Eder was formerly a Judge of the High Court of England and Wales, and was assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division and the Commercial Court from 2011 to 2015. Prior to such appointment, he was a Barrister in Essex Court Chambers of London from 1975 to 2010, and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1990. From 1999 to 2003, he was a Visiting Professor at University College London. He is widely recognised as an expert in the areas of commercial disputes, civil claims and international arbitration involving all aspects of commercial law including banking, shipping, sale of goods, commodities, oil/gas and insurance. He is currently the Senior Editor of Scrutton on Charterparties and Bills of Lading. He has rejoined Essex Court Chambers as an arbitrator/mediator.


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