Justice Chao Hick Tin conferred Honorary Doctor of Laws


Justice Chao Hick Tin, Senior Judge of the Supreme Court of Singapore, was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Laws, NUS’ highest honour, by Madam Halimah Yacob ’78, President of the Republic of Singapore and NUS Chancellor at this year’s Commencement Ceremony on 12 July.

Justice Chao said, “I am greatly surprised and also humbled by this honorary degree. I did not in the least expect to receive it, and am deeply grateful to NUS for so graciously considering me worthy of it.”

Speaking to the law graduates, he said, “Above all, always remember – never compromise on integrity: not for any cause, nor at any price.”

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said, “We are very privileged this year to be able to confer the Honorary Doctor of Laws on a very distinguished Singaporean, Justice Chao Hick Tin. Justice Chao’s contributions over the past 50 years in public service has helped shaped the legal system in Singapore and establish the country as a leading legal hub in Asia. Justice Chao’s remarkable achievements provide an inspiration to the many aspiring lawyers who are graduating today to be passionate about the law, and to serve their legal careers with integrity and humility,”

Born in Singapore, Justice Chao studied at Catholic High School before reading law at University College London. He was appointed Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Singapore on 1 October 1987. This marked the commencement of a distinguished judicial career from 1987 right through to 2017 – a remarkable period of approximately three decades (excluding two years, between 2006 and 2008, when he was Attorney-General) and a total period of half a century in service of his country. Justice Chao was appointed Judge of Appeal on 2 August 1999 and Vice-President of the Court of Appeal on 18 April 2008. In January this year, Justice Chao came out of retirement to take on his appointment as Senior Judge.

Last year, Justice Chao Hick Tin retired from the bench after more than 50 years of public service. In a farewell event celebrating his career on 27 September 2017, the rare honour of a valedictory reference was conducted to pay tribute to Justice Chao’s contributions. In addition, Justice Chao was surprised with a newly launched book featuring a biography of his career, and a compilation of essays from members of the legal fraternity.

In the book titled A Judge for the Ages – Essays in Honour of Justice Chao Hick Tin, experts from the judiciary, practice and academia explore Justice Chao’s jurisprudence in 12 areas of private, public and international law. These essays honour his lasting legacy as a role model for all who aspire to be judges of the highest calibre.