Professor Thio Li-ann delivers Provost’s Chair Professorial Lecture

Professor Thio Li-ann (NUS Law)

NUS Law hosted the Provost’s Chair Professorial Lecture on “Rights, Rites and Regulation: Singapore Public Law in The 21st Century”, delivered by Professor Thio Li-ann on 21 November 2018.

The Lecture explored the landscape of Singapore public law as it has developed within a ‘paternal democracy’. Speaking to a full house made up of members from the law fraternity and students, Professor Thio highlighted unique or unusual features in aid of pluralising the understanding of extant varieties of constitutionalism, which minimally seeks to restrain absolutist rulers and rules.

The lecture addressed three main topics. First, Professor Thio identified three ‘waves’ of constitutional interpretation, with specific reference to how fundamental rights are conceptualised within a communitarian setting and ‘balanced’ against competing rights, duties, norms and goods. Second, she took a realist turn to the constitution beyond the court, examining the nature of what Karl Llewellyn termed the constitution as ‘institution’, that is, “the actions, understandings and inter-relationships of those who operate it.”

Finally, Professor Thio examined the apparent preference for ‘green light’ theories of administrative review which controls the regulatory state, considering whether Singapore administrative law merely follows the path trod by pre-Europeanised English administrative law, whether it has developed any distinctive features and possible trajectories for the advancement of administrative legal values and good governance.

The lecture concluded with a question and answer session chaired by Adjunct Professor Kevin Tan ’86.

About the Speaker:

Professor Thio Li-ann has held the appointment of a Provost’s Chair since 2013 in recognition of her outstanding and impactful scholarly accomplishments which are internationally acknowledged. She teaches and has published widely in the fields of public international law, human rights law, constitutional and administrative law.

Professor James Penner (Vice Dean (Research), NUS Law) delivering the opening remarks

Full house attendance consisting of members from the law fraternity and students

Question and answer session chaired by Adjunct Professor Kevin Tan ’86 (NUS Law)

L-R: Professor David Tan (Vice Dean (Academic Affairs), NUS Law), The Honourable Justice Vinodh Coomaraswamy, Professor Thio Li-ann (NUS Law), Professor James Penner (Vice Dean (Research), NUS Law), and Adjunct Professor Kevin Tan ’86 (NUS Law)