The future stars of the Singapore Bar showcase their advocacy skills

17 January, 2012

Four young lawyers took part in the final of a mooting competition organised by Essex Court Chambers and the English-Speaking Union (“ESU”), and supported by the Singapore Academy of Law. This is the first occasion on which a mooting competition, which is designed to test the advocacy skills of its participants, has been held in Singapore for qualified lawyers.

The two winners, Drew & Napier’s Mr Pardeep Singh Khosa and Mr Mahesh Rai, both 28, took on Mr Kevin Ong, 25, and Mr Lau Kah Hee, 28, from WongPartnership to win an all-expenses paid two-week internship at Essex Court Chambers in London. In the final, which took place at the Supreme Court of Singapore, each team consisting of two speakers, a leader and a junior, were given a hypothetical case involving allegations of breach of contract. They argued the case before a distinguished judging panel consisting of the Honourable Attorney-General Mr Sundaresh Menon SC, the Honourable Justice Steven Chong and the former Attorney-General of Hong Kong and a member of Essex Court Chambers, Mr Michael Thomas CMG QC.

The judges used four criteria with which to evaluate each team’s performance: content, strategy, ability to respond and style. Emphasis was placed on their insight and analysis of the problem, their ability to rebut their opponent’s arguments, their marshalling of legal arguments, team work and oral advocacy skills. A total of 22 young lawyers from seven local law firms, the Justices’ Law Clerks of the Supreme Court of Singapore and the Attorney-General’s Chambers had participated in the earlier rounds of the competition which commenced on 3 November 2011.  Participants had to be under the age of 30 and be lawyers or legal service officers in Singapore who have been in practice for no more than three years as at 30 September 2011.

The Singapore Mooting Competition is supported by the Singapore Academy of Law’s Professional Affairs Committee chaired by the Honourable Justice Steven Chong, and represents the culmination of several months of collaborative effort between the SAL and the members of Essex Court Chambers in developing an event which provides young Singapore lawyers with a forum in which to hone their advocacy skills.  The final was attended by approximately 300 people, including a delegation from Essex Court Chambers, consisting of David Grief, Michael Thomas QC, Jeffrey Gruder QC, David Mildon QC, Geraldine Andrews QC, Joe Smouha QC, Jern-Fei Ng and Chester Brown.

Essex Court Chambers is one of the leading sets of barristers’ chambers in the UK, specialising in commercial and international law. “The members of Essex Court Chambers are delighted to be working with the English-Speaking Union and the Singapore Academy of Law in this endeavour. The mooting competition in Singapore reflects the deep and long-standing commitment of individual members of Chambers to Singapore and its development as an international centre for dispute resolution,” said David Foxton QC of Essex Court Chambers.


(L-R: Serene Wee (Chief Executive, Singapore Academy of Law), David Grief (Senior Clerk, Essex Court Chambers), Pardeep Singh Khosa (Drew & Napier LLC), Mahesh Rai (Drew & Napier LLC), The Hon Justice Steven Chong, The Hon Attorney-General, Sundaresh Menon SC, Michael Thomas CMG QC (Essex Court Chambers), Kevin Ong (WongPartnership LLP), Lau Kah Hee (WongPartnership LLP), Steven Nolan (ESU))