Justice Lai Siu Chiu was appointed Judicial Commissioner in 1991 and High Court Judge in 1994. She retired in 2013 before returning as Senior Judge in 2015.
Born in Malaysia, she received her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Singapore (renamed as National University of Singapore in 1980) in 1972. A year later, Justice Lai was admitted as advocate and solicitor in Singapore. She chose to further her studies and earned her Master of Laws degree from University College, University of London in 1977.
She began her legal career in Sim Teow Gok & Co in 1973. Within the same year, she moved to Allen & Gledhill where she became Senior Partner. Justice Lai left the firm in May 1991 to join the Supreme Court.
Her other appointments include serving as Chairperson of the Children Charities Association in 1984 and 1985, and being the Chairperson of the Singapore Academy of Law Membership & Social Committee – a position she relinquished when she retired from the Bench. Justice Lai was a member of the Presidential Council for Religious Harmony. Currently, Justice Lai is a member of the executive board of the Yellow Ribbon Fund and is a board member of the Academy of Chinese Medicine. She is the chairperson of Changi Prison’s Review Board for persons (i) who are sentenced to life imprisonment; (ii) who are sentenced to long imprisonment; and (iii) who are detained at the President’s pleasure.
Justice Lai is the first woman to be appointed as a Judicial Commissioner and Supreme Court Judge.