Of Queen’s and Senior Counsels

4 March 2002

I contributed the following letter to Straits Times (Forum Page), though I think it is unlikely to get published:

I am somewhat perplexed that Dr Chee’s recent application for a Queen’s Counsel was turned down by our High Court on the basis that “the cases were not so complex as to warrant the expertise of a Queen’s Counsel”. On the contrary, the High Court has allowed this “straightforward” case to be handled by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh (representing PM Goh and SM Lee).

Even though the title of “Senior Counsel” was established to be our local equivalent for the Queen’s Counsel, it seems that the High Court may have inadvertently committed an act of great injustice to our local legal profession by giving undue recognition to those “foreign QC talents” (by implying that QCs have a higher level of expertise than our “local Senior Counsels”).

On a related issue, I hope that in the quest for recruiting more “foreign talents”, our Government will not give any undue preferential treatment to the “foreign talents” by assuming that they have a higher level of expertise (unless proven).

It is time that our “local talents” should be given equal recognition for their important contributions.


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