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Five outstanding volunteers honoured at Judiciary Volunteers Appreciation Dinner

1              Five volunteers of the Supreme Court, the State Courts and the Family Justice Courts received awards for their outstanding commitment and dedication to pro bono work. The awards were given out by The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon on 14 September during the Judiciary Volunteers Appreciation Dinner 2017 held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, as a mark of the Courts’ recognition of their service. 

2              Volunteers are an important pillar in the Singapore Judiciary, complementing the work of the Courts. The awards given out include the Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences (LASCO) Award which recognises volunteer lawyers for their dedication to pro bono criminal defence in capital offences at the Supreme Court, and the Outstanding Court Volunteer Award comprising three categories – Open Category, Advocate and Solicitor Category, and Student Category – which recognises volunteers in various vocations including mediation and court-user assistance at the State Courts and the Family Justice Courts. 

3              The five outstanding volunteers were among the 350-strong Court volunteer pool who have demonstrated their personal commitment to assisting the Courts in the delivery of justice. They are: 

(i)            Mr James Masih

Award: Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences (LASCO) Award

– conferred by the Supreme Court

 

(ii)           Mr Krishna s/o Veerappen

Award: Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Open Category)

– conferred by the State Courts

 

(iii)          Mr Lam Kuet Keng Steven John

Award: Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Advocate & Solicitor Category)

– conferred by the State Courts

 

(iv)         Mr Amolat Singh

Award: Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Advocate & Solicitor Category)

– conferred by the Family Justice Courts

 

(v)          Mr Lim Sheng Kang Shaun

Award: Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Student Category)

– conferred by the State Courts

Please refer to the Annexes for more information on the award recipients. 

4              The Judiciary Volunteers Appreciation Dinner is organised annually to recognise the sterling contributions of Court volunteers who have assisted and supported the Judiciary’s various programmes for litigants and Court users. Comprising members of the Bar, professionals and individuals from diverse backgrounds, the Court volunteers play an important role in the Judiciary’s effort to ensure that everyone who needs to access justice before the Courts is able to do so with the help of lawyers and other volunteers.

5              Over 300 Court volunteers and Judiciary staff attended the Dinner which was hosted by the Chief Justice. Expressing his deep appreciation to the volunteers for their contributions in pro bono work, Chief Justice Menon said, “It is encouraging to see such a diverse range of volunteers, from students to experienced members of the legal fraternity, who give so much of their time and expertise to the Courts willingly. Many of our volunteers have demonstrated passion and commitment in helping others and have made a significant difference in making justice truly accessible to the public. They are valuable partners in helping the Courts advance justice to all and we recognise and honour their contributions.”

 

SUPREME COURT

STATE COURTS

FAMILY JUSTICE COURTS


14 SEPTEMBER 2017

 

Annex A

Outstanding Court Volunteer Awards 2017

Award recipients 

(i)    Mr James Masih

Award: Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences (LASCO) Award

– conferred by the Supreme Court

 

Mr James Masih, who specialises in civil and criminal litigation, is passionate about criminal defence work, and takes a special interest in capital cases. He has consistently shown a willingness to take on LASCO assignments even in difficult circumstances. Since January 2013, he has assisted in 15 cases, which include 11 trials and four appeals as defence counsel for cases under the Supreme Court’s Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences, which ensures access to justice for those charged with criminal conduct and facing a capital charge.

 

(ii)           Mr Krishna s/o Veerappen

Award: Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Open Category)

– conferred by the State Courts

 

Mr Krishna s/o Veerappen, a Project Management Consultant, joined the State Courts in 2014 as a volunteer mediator for Magistrate’s Complaint cases. He has shown exceptional commitment and determination in mediating the cases assigned to him, and has successfully mediated many of them. In addition, when the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution (SCCDR) expanded its pool of volunteer mediators in 2016, Mr Krishna assisted the SCCDR by coaching new mediators, generously sharing with them his insights and experience in mediating cases in the State Courts. At 81 years old, Mr Krishna continues to give his time selflessly and is an inspiration to all.

(iii)          Mr Lam Kuet Keng Steven John

Award: Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Advocate & Solicitor Category)

– conferred by the State Courts

 

Mr Lam Kuet Keng Steven John has been a volunteer mediator at the State Courts since 2009, and has contributed greatly to the alternative dispute resolution scene in the State Courts. Mr Lam is currently one of the State Courts’ most regular and avid volunteers, dealing with both civil and criminal mediations. With an impressive case settlement rate of 100%, Mr Lam’s track record gives testament to his competence and proficiency in mediation.

 

(iv)         Mr Amolat Singh

Award: Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Advocate & Solicitor Category)

– conferred by the Family Justice Courts

 

Mr Amolat Singh, whose practice encompasses civil and criminal litigation, family disputes, defamation, insurance, drafting, court martial law and conveyancing, was amongst the Family Justice Courts’ (FJC) earliest volunteer mediators and has been volunteering with FJC since 2010. An exemplary volunteer with the heart and passion to serve, Mr Singh has consistently kept to his assigned schedule despite having his own private legal practice. Mr Singh is also an accomplished mediator who has achieved settlement in most of the cases assigned to him.

 

In addition to his volunteer work at the FJC, Mr Singh is also a LASCO volunteer and a volunteer mediator of the State Courts. He received the inaugural LASCO award in 2010 and in 2014, was conferred the Outstanding Volunteer Award (Advocate & Solicitor Category) by the State Courts for his invaluable pro bono contributions to litigants in the State Courts.

 

(v)          Mr Lim Sheng Kang Shaun

Award: Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Student Category)

– conferred by the State Courts

 

Mr Lim Sheng Kang Shaun is a fourth-year law student at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He has been volunteering in the State Courts’ Student Representatives Programme since the programme was introduced in June 2016, assisting litigants-in-person (LIPs) in harassment cases, community disputes, small claims and employment claims cases, and guiding them in navigating and adhering to Court processes. He has also gone beyond his duty to return to the State Courts during his term break, to render his assistance to Court users. Besides assisting LIPs, Mr Lim also volunteered to help train subsequent batches of student representatives from NUS, and provided peer mentorship and guidance to the new volunteers.



Annex B

Outstanding Court Volunteer Awards 2017

Award types and categories 

LASCO Award

The essence of the Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences (LASCO) is to ensure access to justice for those charged with criminal conduct and facing a capital charge. Since inception, it has stood as an important feature in the Singapore criminal justice landscape ensuring fairness is observed in the criminal justice process. The LASCO award, conferred by the Supreme Court, is presented to a deserving counsel in recognition of the counsel’s commitment and contributions to LASCO and service rendered to the State and the community. 

Outstanding Court Volunteer Awards

The Outstanding Court Volunteer Awards (Advocate & Solicitor Category and Open Category), conferred by the State Courts and the Family Justice Courts, are presented to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment and dedication as volunteers with the State Courts or the Family Justice Courts. The Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Student Category), conferred by the State Courts, recognises students who volunteer their time with the State Courts under the student volunteer programmes such as the Student Representatives Programme, and Student Research Assistants Programme (please refer to Annex C).


Annex C

State Courts Student Volunteer Programmes

Student Representatives Programme 

Launched in June 2016, the Student Representatives Programme (SRP) is a collaboration between the State Courts and the NUS Pro Bono Office. It is designed to assist qualifying litigants-in-person (LIPs) in harassment cases, community disputes, small claims and employment claims cases. Students of the NUS Faculty of Law participating in this scheme perform the important role of guiding litigants to navigate and adhere to Court processes. They assist in the following ways:

·         Explaining the application procedures and timeline

·         Explaining forms and their requirements

·         Helping to complete forms, subject to LIPs passing a means test

·         Helping to check that documents are assembled and organised for filing

While students are able to provide information on Court and tribunal processes, they are not permitted to provide legal advice. The work of the students is supervised by the NUS Pro Bono Office, but does not constitute legal advice. LIPs who require legal advice will be referred to volunteer lawyers at legal clinics.

The SRP gives students the opportunity to interact with LIPs, judges and experienced Court administrators. It also provides them with exposure to a wide range of cases involving a variety of issues that affect the common citizen. 

Student Research Assistants Programme

The Student Research Assistants Programme (StRAP) is a collaboration between the State Courts and Temasek Polytechnic. Under the StRAP, Temasek Polytechnic’s Law and Management Diploma Programme students provide support for the State Courts’ Sentencing Information & Research Repository (SIR), a sentencing database of the results of cases prosecuted in the State Courts. Supervised by State Courts’ officers and judges, the student research assistants analyse and summarise case information presented in these cases, including the outcome of appeal cases. The case analysis and summaries are then incorporated in the SIR.

Through StRAP, the student research assistants are able to gain experience in legal research, complementing their curriculum.  Their support, in turn, enables the State Courts officers and judges to update the SIR efficiently so that the Courts, Prosecution and the Defence Bar can access SIR to refer to precedent cases that may have a bearing on their cases.

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