Media Releases

Supreme Court Launches Inaugural Award For The Legal Assistance Scheme For Capital Offences ("LASCO")

Singapore, 26 November 2010 – The inaugural LASCO Award was presented today by the Honourable The Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong to Mr Amolat Singh, Managing Partner of Amolat & Partners, at the LASCO Dinner 2010, held at the Holiday Inn Hotel Singapore.

LASCO was institutionalised in its present form in 1992. Under the scheme, all persons facing capital charges in the High Court are ensured of legal representation and are eligible to be assigned counsel by the state free of charge. No means test or other eligibility criteria is imposed. Generally, two counsel will be assigned – one to lead, and one to assist.

LASCO has been an integral feature in Singapore’s pro bono landscape. Over the years, it has grown from strength to strength, and today comprises about 200 lawyers. Participation from members of the Bar in LASCO has made it possible for every accused person facing a capital charge to be represented at trial and on appeal.

As Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong observed, “Participating in LASCO may be regarded as a moral obligation on the part of any member of the legal profession, especially those who practise at the Criminal Bar, to advance and promote criminal justice, and prevent or reduce any miscarriage of justice. It may be said that the public defender’s role is part of the DNA of the criminal lawyer; if it is not, his genes will evolve over time to seek that role.”

In recognition of the LASCO members’ contributions, the Supreme Court has thus established the LASCO Award, which will be presented periodically to a deserving counsel who has shown exemplary commitment to the scheme. Mr Amolat Singh, the winner of the first LASCO award, has been contributing to LASCO for 16 years.  He has been observed to adjust his schedule to accommodate LASCO assignments, and his commitment towards the accused persons he represented has been noted more than once by the court.
 “I decided to be part of LASCO because I truly believe in the criminal justice system, and joining LASCO is my way of living a lawyer’s dream – that of defending life, limb and liberty. I am thankful that I have been able to give the accused persons in my cases my best shot, and today, I am honoured to be bestowed this prestigious award. I am also greatly indebted to my seniors who selflessly took me under their wings and led the charge forward, and hope that this award will serve to encourage many others who toil below decks like me”, said Mr Singh.


Media contact:
Nigel Sim
Deputy Director (Corporate Communications)
Tel: (65) 6332 4438

About the Supreme Court of Singapore

The Supreme Court comprises the Court of Appeal and the High Court, and hears both civil and criminal cases. The Supreme Court aims to establish and maintain a world class judiciary system, in order to superintend the administration of justice in Singapore, and is guided by the values of Integrity, Quality Public Service, Learning and Innovation and Ownership. Judicial power in Singapore is vested in the Supreme Court and its state courts under Article 93 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore, as part of the Judiciary branch of the Singapore Government. The Honourable the Chief Justice is the head of the Judiciary.