SLR 29th Annual Lecture: Prosecution in the Public Interest

AG Wong addresses the crowd of over 300 at the lecture

NUS Law hosted the 29th Singapore Law Review Annual Lecture on 19 October 2017, at the auditorium of the Bukit Timah Campus. The lecture delivered by Attorney-General Lucien Wong ’78 SC, was titled “Prosecution in the Public Interest”.

The lecture is the first public lecture by AG Wong since he took office in January this year, and over 300 members of the legal fraternity and the general public filled the venue. NUS Law Dean, Professor Simon Chesterman kicked off the event by talking about how the student-run Singapore Law Review has served as a time-honoured platform for the development of legal scholarship and the honing of editing and writing skills. The opening address was delivered by Ms Deborah Barker ’76 SC, partner at Withers KhattarWong, who generously sponsored the event. Ms Barker spoke about the relevance of the topic of prosecutorial discretion not just within legal circles but also for the general public.

Ms Deborah Barker delivering her opening address

During his lecture, AG Wong said that public interest permeates all decisions by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), and determining what is in the public interest is something which AGC officers engage in on a daily basis. Nevertheless, AG Wong opined that it is impossible to lay down a definitive statement as to what the public interest is because this has to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

AG Wong said that prosecutorial discretion is a multifaceted and complicated task which requires a balance of various competing factors. Reaffirming the AGC’s commitment towards prosecuting in the public interest and for the good of Singapore, AG Wong noted that no single person in the AGC unilaterally “determines” the public interest in the AGC. He explained that a fully considered decision can only be reached through the process of open engagement.

For a full report on the lecture, please visit The Singapore Law Review.
Coverage by Straits Times

AG Wong poses for a commemorative photo with Dean Simon Chesterman, Ms Deborah Barker SC, and the SLR Editorial Team, Law May Ning ’19, Chief Editor, and Lim Ke Jia ’19, Deputy Chief Editor (Administration)