60th Anniversary Special: Faculty Features


Professor Leong Wai Kum:
A Pioneer in Family Law

Professor Leong Wai Kum is synonymous with Family Law in Singapore and her book Elements of Family Law is the definitive textbook on the subject. Her 40 year career at NUS Law is distinguished by her significant influence on the development of Family Law, and she has groomed many of today’s leading practitioners and lawmakers. Prof Leong was the first graduate of the newly established Faculty of Law, University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, to join NUS Law as a lecturer. Her pioneering work in Family Law will undoubtedly endure for decades to come. We talked to Prof Leong about her work and inspiration. Read more here.

Professor Alan Tan:
The Sky's the Limit

Professor Alan Tan '93 is NUS Law's resident authority on Aviation Law. He has also been an adviser to governments and airlines on liberalising the aviation industry. He has written and published extensively on aviation law and policy issues in Asia and has worked with the World Bank, the ASEAN Secretariat, the governments of China, Indonesia and Sri Lanka and airlines such as AirAsia and Royal Brunei. Born in Penang, Malaysia, Alan first came to Singapore as an ASEAN Scholar and subsequently studied at NUS and Yale. Apart from a secondment to the Supreme Court as a Justices' Law Clerk, Alan has spent his entire professional life with NUS Law, with a teaching stint at New York University. Alan also enjoys teaching Criminal Law to first-year students, and recently wrote a poem dedicated to all his students We talked to Professor Tan about his aviation law work. Read more here.


Professor Simon Chesterman:
Forefront of International Law

Professor Simon Chesterman, Dean of NUS Law, is a prominent figure in the academic arena of International Law. Editor of the Asian Journal of International Law and Secretary-General of the Asian Society of International Law, Professor Chesterman’s works has opened up new areas of research on conceptions of public authority - including the rules and institutions of global governance, state-building and post-conflict reconstruction, and the changing role of intelligence agencies.

He was also a Senior Associate at the International Peace Academy and Director of UN Relations at the International Crisis Group in New York. He has previously worked for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yugoslavia and interned at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Professor Chesterman shares with us some of his experiences and thoughts on International Law. Read more here.

Associate Professor Eleanor Wong:
Rules of Engagement

Associate Professor Eleanor Wong ’85, Vice Dean (Student Affairs) started her career with the Commercial Affairs Department, prosecuting complex commercial and securities frauds. She then obtained a Masters in corporate law from New York University in 1990 and practised in the New York office of Coudert Brothers, returning to Singapore in 1992. Eleanor specialised in regional banking and finance work for Coudert and, later, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Eleanor is a published playwright, whose works have been produced in Singapore and ASEAN. She has also held several top management positions in television production.

A graduate of NUS Law as a Public Service Commission Merit scholar, Eleanor was named Best Oralist (Championship Round) at the prestigious 1985 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, where she was a member of the victorious NUS moot team. In this interview, Eleanor shares with us her mooting experiences as a student and the mooting scene now. Read more here.

Assistant Professor Jean Ho:
A League of Her Own

Assistant Professor Jean Ho ’03 lectures and supervises diverse aspects of international investment law. The principal areas of her research are the law of state responsibility, the law of treaties, and investment contracts. She is the first academic in the history of NUS Law to graduate with honours from l'Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, topping her class in several courses including Droit des Contrats, Droit de la Responsabilité Civile, and Droit des Sociétés.

She is also the first Singaporean to be awarded a placement with the Conseil d'Etat in Paris, an honour normally reserved for foreign judges. Prior to academia, she specialised in investor-state disputes at Shearman & Sterling LLP. Fluent in French and Mandarin, she now divides her time between Singapore, London, Paris and Washington D.C.

Assistant Professor Ho shares with us more about her experiences. Read more here.


Assistant Professor Swati Jhaveri:
Nurturing the Future

Assistant Professor Swati Jhaveri joined NUS Law in August 2012, and has won the University-level Annual Teaching Excellence Award for three consecutive years. She teaches Constitutional & Administrative Law and the Law of Torts, and her areas of research include public law, with a focus on administrative law. She has published in law journals such as International Journal of Constitutional Law (ICON), Public Law, Tort Law Review and Singapore Journal of Legal Studies. Swati previously taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Faculty of Law. While at CUHK, she was awarded the Vice Chancellor's Exemplary Teaching Award. She was also awarded a competitive research grant by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong to investigate the post-1997 impact of judicial review on legislative process and content.

She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Jurisprudence (First Class Honours) and Bachelor of Civil Law (Distinction) from the University of Oxford. She previously practised law at Allen & Overy, specialising in international commercial arbitration. She is a Solicitor of the Hong Kong SAR and England & Wales and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Swati tells us more about her academic and teaching experience


Associate Professor David Tan:
A Road Less Travelled

Associate Professor David Tan, Vice Dean (Academic Affairs) has taken an unusual road to academia. David has previously worked with McKinsey & Company, DBS Bank and the Singapore Administrative Service.

He is the first associate professor at NUS Law to be appointed to the position of Dean’s Chair in 2016. His legal expertise covers three key areas of intellectual and intangible property – (i) personality rights; (ii) copyright; and (iii) trademarks – as well as tort law and comparative constitutional freedom of expression.

David was named The Outstanding Young Person in 1998 by the Junior Chamber International (Singapore) and the Most Promising Young Person in 2001 by Singapore Tatler. He is also a well-known fine art and fashion photographer, having contributed to magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and Elle, and has had solo photography exhibitions presented by luxury brands Cartier and Versace.

Fresh from the launch of his latest book The Commercial Appropriation of Fame: A Cultural Analysis of the Right of Publicity and Passing Off, David shares more about his book, his experiences and the challenges of his role as Vice Dean (Academic Affairs)

Associate Professor Ruby Lee:
Power of Pro Bono

Associate Professor Ruby Lee ’85 was called to the bar in Singapore in 1986, and later obtained a Masters in Law from the London School of Economics in 1990. After several years of general practice, she joined an international group of companies where she remained until 2012. As the Director in-charge of legal matters, she headed and participated in many transactions that the group undertook, and served as a director and/or company secretary in many of the subsidiaries of the group, including public listed companies. Since joining NUS Law, she has been engaged in pro bono and clinical education. She has led a number of key projects, including projects involving increasing access to justice for families of persons with mental disabilities. She is the co-director of the newly launched Centre for Pro Bono & Clinical Legal Education, together with Associate Professor Lim Lei Theng ’92. Read more here.


Professor Tan Cheng Han SC:

Serious Business

Professor Tan Cheng Han SC ’87 is the Chairman of the faculty’s EW Barker Centre for Law and Business. A man with many hats, some of his present appointments include being Chairman of NTUC First Campus, Chairman of Singapore Exchange Regulation, Chairman of the Public Accountants Oversight Committee, a Council Member of Sport Singapore, a member of the Governing Board of the International Association of Law Schools, and an Advisor to the Singapore Taekwondo Federation. Professor Tan talks to us about his various roles, aspirations and advice for law students. Read more here.


Associate Professor Stephen Phua:

Of Passion and Taxes

Stephen Phua ’88 teaches Income Tax, Goods and Services Tax, Corporate Taxation, International Tax and Business & Finance for Lawyers at NUS Law. He is a consultant with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) and an examiner with the Chartered Institute of Taxation in London. He is also an Eastern Scholar, and a Visiting Professor at the International Law School of East China University of Law and Politics in Shanghai. He is a member of Indonesia National Trade Repository, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and is a programme advisor to the International Tax and Investment Center in Washington DC.

He was a visiting scholar and professor to several leading universities in Australia, Canada, China, Japan and the USA. He was a member of the Tax Advisory Group in Ministry of Finance. He served as a member for more than a decade on each one of the three tax tribunals in Singapore (Income Tax Board of Review, Goods and Services Tax Board of Review and Valuation Review Board). Prior to joining IRAS, he was a tax consultant in a leading law firm in Singapore. Read more here.