20 July 2018
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Legal 'stalwart' senior counsel Jeffrey Chan retires after 45 years

Straits Times
12 Jul 2018
K.C. Vijayan

Senior Counsel Jeffrey Chan is longest-serving legal service officer

A veteran of the legal service, Mr Jeffrey Chan, who retired last week as principal senior consultant at the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC), was a man of several firsts.

He was the first President's Scholar to read law in 1969 and, after joining the Singapore Legal Service, the first to be awarded a scholarship to get a master's in law at Harvard University in 1981.

Senior Counsel Chan, 67, eventually became the first chief of staff of the Legal Service and was appointed deputy solicitor-general in 2008.

He was also the longest-serving legal service officer with 45 years of experience under his belt, said an AGC spokesman.

He was also in the State Courts as magistrate, state coroner and deputy registrar, High Court (assistant registrar), Land Appeals Board, Ministry of Law and the Ministry of Defence, where he was the director of legal service, she added.

Mr Chan started at the AGC in 1973 as a deputy public prosecutor cum state counsel and, during his tenure, made critical contributions to the AGC's core work of being the Government's legal adviser, and the Office of the Public Prosecutor.

He headed the civil division from 1995 to 2007 and then the international affairs division, as well as the Legal Profession Secretariat from 2008 to 2015 before the role was transferred to the Ministry of Law.

As a litigator, he represented the the Government in numerous civil and criminal cases, and appeared for the Attorney-General in numerous applications and other matters concerning the legal profession.

The international matters in which he represented Singapore included serving as chief negotiator for the Singapore-Indonesia Extradition Treaty, and chairing the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law in 2000.

In 1973, Mr Chan graduated at the top of his law class at the University of Singapore, whose dean at the time, Dr Thio Su Mien, said when contacted last week that the word "stalwart" came to mind.

"Yes, indeed, a stalwart in his service to the law and the state and his retirement years will no doubt continue to be fruitful," she noted.

Attorney-General Lucien Wong said: "The AGC has been very privileged to have been able to call Mr Jeffrey Chan one of our longest-serving staff."

Noting the office had benefited tremendously from Mr Chan's contributions, he said: "After 45 years of sterling service, we are happy that Jeffrey would be able to take a well-deserved break and pursue his other interests.

"We thank him for the generosity of his spirit as a colleague, friend and mentor, and the expansiveness of his mind as a legal officer."

Mr Chan said on Monday: " I am happy to say that the past 45 years which I spent in the public service have been filled with very rich experiences and I have absolutely no regrets serving in the public service.

"Really, the best part was the people that I met while working in the AGC and the other departments I was posted to.

"I have a lot to be thankful for, all these people who made my life so rich over the past 45 years."

Mr Chan is now a part-time principal senior consultant with law firm JLC Advisors and will also teach part-time at the National University of Singapore law school from January.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.