Launch of Centre for Maritime Law and New Professorship

Professor Simon Chesterman, Dean of NUS Law, the Honourable Justice Steven Chong, Supreme Court of Singapore, Professor Stephen Girvin, Director of CML, and Associate Professor Paul Myburgh, Deputy Director of CML

NUS Law and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) have established a new Centre for Maritime Law (CML) and MPA Professorship in Maritime Law. These two initiatives deepen the strong partnership between NUS Law, the Ministry of Law, and the MPA in boosting Singapore’s expertise in maritime law research and thought leadership. 

The centre was officially launched on 3 September 2015 by MPA Chief Executive, Mr Andrew Tan, and NUS Law Dean, Professor Simon Chesterman, in the presence of about 150 guests from the judiciary, government, practitioners from the legal, insurance and shipping sectors, as well as academics. The new centre, which is NUS Law’s sixth research centre, will focus on commercial maritime law. Established with funding from the MPA and the Ministry of Law, CML’s primary focus will be to spearhead maritime law research in Singapore and in the region, as well as enhance the knowledge and expertise among the shipping community in Singapore. It will also support and enhance the teaching of maritime law among undergraduates and postgraduate students.

The MPA Professorship in Maritime Law has also been enhanced to strengthen the development of resident teaching expertise and anchor maritime legal research activities at NUS Law. This builds on the earlier S$4 million MPA visiting professorship programme that was set up in 2003 at NUS Law to enable overseas academics to conduct courses for NUS Law students and members of the Singapore maritime community. 

In support of these two initiatives, MPA has contributed an additional S$1 million to establish a permanent professorship. Additionally, MPA, through the Singapore Maritime Institute, has also set aside S$2 million to support the running of CML over five years. 

Professor Stephen Girvin, who has been a faculty member of NUS Law since 2008, has been appointed as the inaugural MPA Professor in Maritime Law. He is joined by Associate Professor Paul Myburgh, formerly of the University of Auckland, as Deputy Director of the centre. An advisory board chaired by NUS Law and comprising nine other representatives from MPA, the legal fraternity and the marine insurance sector will also guide the work of the centre.  

Professor Simon Chesterman, Dean of NUS Law, said, “Singapore is already a global port and a leading venue for maritime dispute resolution. Our aim is to build on that success to establish Singapore as a thought-leader in commercial maritime law issues. The launch of the Centre for Maritime Law and the MPA Professorship in Maritime Law complement the wider efforts to promote Singapore as a full-service maritime centre and ensure that its voice in commercial maritime law issues is heard.” 

“Professor Stephen Girvin is one of the world’s most prolific and influential scholars of maritime law. At NUS Law he has built up a specialist master’s programme in maritime law that is widely regarded as the best in the region, as well as helped lead a transformation in the faculty’s approach to research during his tenure as Vice Dean. As the Founding Director of CML and the inaugural MPA Professor in Maritime Law, Professor Girvin’s international recognition and connections will be invaluable in deepening and strengthening the study and the practice of maritime law in Singapore and beyond.” 

Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA said, “Maritime Singapore is home to more than 5,000 maritime establishments. These include the port, shipping and maritime services such as ship broking, marine insurance and maritime law and arbitration. We have a comprehensive maritime eco-system with good growth potential. A strong pool of maritime legal expertise will reinforce Singapore’s development as a leading maritime legal and arbitration centre. This partnership with NUS will strengthen our efforts to position Singapore as an international maritime centre.” 

CML will focus on research in commercial maritime law, broadly on international trade, transport and shipping law related issues. The centre’s activities range across private (commercial) shipping law and includes dispute settlement, such as maritime arbitration, and the offshore sector. In addition, the centre will organise seminars, conferences and symposia to engage academics, professionals, and government institutions with the objective of enhancing the development of maritime law in Singapore and the region. The centre expects its activities to enhance the reputation of Singapore as an International Maritime Centre (IMC).  

Prof Girvin said, “The Centre for Maritime Law aims to be a leader in research and scholarship in maritime law. We look forward to working closely with the local and international maritime community to contribute towards strengthening Singapore’s pre-eminent reputation as a global maritime hub.” 

CML is the sixth and latest research centre developed as part of NUS Law’s research initiative. In 2012, the faculty established the Centre for Asian Legal Studies, and in 2014, the Centre for Law & Business and the Centre for Banking & Finance Law were launched. Earlier in 2015, the Centre for Legal Theory was added to the ranks. The first research centre established by NUS Law is the Asia-Pacific Centre for Environmental Law which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2016. 

From left to right: Associate Professor Paul Myburgh, Dean Simon Chesterman, Mr Andrew Tan, MPA Chief Executive, and Professor Stephen Girvin.


The Honourable Justice Steven Chong, Supreme Court of Singapore


Speaker and panelists (from left to right): Mr René Piil Pedersen (Managing Director, A.P. Moller Singapore Pte Ltd),
Professor Stephen Girvin, Justice Steven Chong, Mr Lawrence Teh (Senior Partner, Dispute Resolution Practice, Rodyk and Davidson LLP), and Mr Leong Kah Wah (Head, Dispute Resolution, Rajah and Tann Singapore LLP).


Professor Stephen Girvin, Dean Simon Chesterman, Justice Belinda Ang, Mr Andrew Tan, Associate Professor Paul Myburgh,
and Mr 
René Piil Pedersen