SINGAPORE, TOTALITARIANISM AND THE ENGLISH JUDICIARY
Three former judges of England and Wales have been appointed to the Singapore International Commercial Court. They are former Court of Appeal Judge Lord Justice Rix, former High Court Judge and Jackson Reforms enforcer Mr Justice Ramsey and former Deputy High Court Judge Simon Thorley QC.
Lord Justice Rix showered praise on his new paymasters, reflecting Lord Justice Jackson’s affection for Singapore’s legal system.
Others, including the United Nations Human Rights Committee, think that Singapore has one of the worst legal systems on the planet.
Few argue with the proposition that Singapore is a totalitarian state. Its judiciary is complicit with, and at the heart of, this totalitarianism. Compare and contrast Singapore with apartheid South Africa where the Law Society of South Africa pointedly kept Nelson Mandela on the roll of solicitors throughout his imprisonment for treason.
As well as being corrupt, Singapore has the highest rate of state executions in the world, imposed by a compliant judiciary. It has no free press, no freedom of association, unlimited detention without trial and is below Russia in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index; it is ranked 150 out of 180 and has slipped in each of the last two years. Homosexuality is a criminal offence. It is one of the few countries which has refused to sign or ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
British QCs have suffered at Singapore’s hands for representing their clients. Julian Burnside QC had his phone tapped and was fined US$16,000 with US$38,000 legal fees for representing his client against the wishes of the state of Singapore.
All of this is dealt with at length and with supporting evidence in my blog Jackson L.J, Singapore and Totalitarianism, where I suggested that Singapore was not a good model on which to base reforms of our own judicial system. Ignoring the totalitarian issue, the Jackson Reforms have very obviously failed.
Why then are these three judges joining the corrupt judiciary of Singapore? It could not possibly be for the money could it? Surely Mr Justice Ramsey, who delivered the Sixteenth Lecture in the [Jackson] Implementation Programme at the Law Society Conference on 29 May 2012, all about cutting lawyers’ fees, could not be that hypocritical.
Maybe these three musketeers are going to Singapore in the hope of improving and reforming its judiciary. If that is the case then they should say so.
If not, in these austere times, let us save some money by stripping them of their judicial pensions and titles. Others have lost theirs for less.