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NUS Law Launches Law Academy to Hone Legal Skills of Professionals in Singapore


Twenty-nine senior Home Team officers receive inaugural Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice from NUS Law

The National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (NUS Law) announced the establishment of the NUS Law Academy. The new setup is aimed at honing the legal skills of professionals and practitioners in Singapore.

Mr Edwin Tong, Senior Minister of State for Law and Health, launched the NUS Law Academy with Professor Simon Chesterman, Dean of NUS Law, at the graduation ceremony for the Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice (GCCJ) programme held at the NUS Kent Ridge Campus.

The NUS Law Academy was officially launched by Mr Edwin Tong, Senior Minister of State for Law and Health (second from left).

Prof Chesterman said, “Building on six decades of transformative legal education at the undergraduate and graduate level, the NUS Law Academy extends that mission to professionals at different stages of their careers. From brushing up on skills to learning about a new area of law, our aim is to provide a suite of modules for the working learner. Our hope is that the NUS Law Academy will become a vital part of Singapore’s legal ecosystem, offering a range of graduate certificates and diplomas to meet the challenges of the future economy.”

NUS Law Academy to offer skills-based, industry-relevant courses for practising lawyers and non-lawyers

The NUS Law Academy will offer skills-based, industry-relevant courses necessary for upskilling or reskilling, to enable working professionals to better hone their skills and update their legal knowledge within a more flexible timeframe. It will build on NUS Law’s existing Continuing Legal Education programme, where practising lawyers attend Continuing Professional Development (CPD) seminars to improve and expand their professional knowledge and skills, and earn CPD points to renew their Singapore practising certificate.

In addition to practising lawyers, courses at the NUS Law Academy will be catered to non-lawyers such as those who wish to be involved in the practice of arbitration, master mariners and engineers, and law enforcement officers. It will work closely with government agencies such as SkillsFuture Singapore and various agencies like the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), Home Team Academy and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, to deliver high quality industry-relevant programmes.

In line with Singapore’s SkillsFuture initiatives and NUS’ focus on lifelong learning, the Academy aims to deliver a flexible graduate-level coursework programme that will permit more working professionals to enrol in individual graduate modules and stack them towards graduate certificates, graduate diplomas and ultimately a Masters coursework degree. These courses will not only be taught by faculty members of NUS Law but also by visiting faculty from leading law schools around the world such as Harvard, Yale, New York University, Cambridge, Oxford, Melbourne, Seoul National and Hong Kong University.

Three accredited programmes – Graduate Certificate in International Arbitration, Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice and the Graduate Diploma in Maritime Law & Arbitration – which are currently offered by NUS Law will come under the ambit of the new NUS Law Academy. In the pipeline is a new programme, the Graduate Certificate in Intellectual Property and Technology Law, which will be introduced from August next year. Information on these programmes are available at:

The NUS Law Academy is helmed by its Director, Associate Professor Umakanth Varottil, who is also the Director of Graduate Coursework Studies at NUS Law. Prior to joining NUS Law in 2010, Assoc Prof Umakanth was a partner at a pre-eminent law firm in India. During that time, he was also ranked as a leading corporate/mergers and acquisitions lawyer in India by the Chambers Global Guide. He has also taught on a visiting basis at law schools in Australia, India, Italy, New Zealand and the United States.

Senior Home Team officers upskilled through Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice programme

Twenty-nine senior investigation officers from the Singapore Police Force graduated today from NUS Law with the Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice (GCCJ). The Home Team officers received their certificates from Mr Edwin Tong, Senior Minister of State for Law and Health, at the graduation ceremony held at the NUS Kent Ridge Campus. Deputy Superintendent of Police Ms Tay Hwee Ling, Michelle from the Criminal Investigation Department and Assistant Superintendent of Police Mr Koay Lean Seong from the Central Police Division were also awarded the Singapore Police Force Special Prizes for graduating top of the programme.

Introduced in January this year, the GCCJ programme is a collaboration between NUS Law, Home Team Academy and Home Team School of Criminal Investigation with support from the AGC. The nine-month long programme was specially designed for senior Home Team officers to enhance their knowledge in the four legal pillars of the Singapore criminal justice system – criminal law, criminal procedure law, evidence law, and sentencing law. It was conducted by faculty members from NUS Law as well as the Deputy Chief Prosecutor and Deputy Public Prosecutors from the AGC.

Besides providing investigation officers with a solid foundation in key doctrines, principles and policies of the various legal framework and laws, the course is aimed at enhancing their proficiency in their investigation work, as well as to provide them with a stepping stone towards higher law-related certification. The GCCJ programme is one of the courses which will now be offered under the NUS Law Academy. More information on the programme is available at:

Superintendent of Police Mr K Vasanthan, Head Investigation, Bedok Police Division, Singapore Police Force, who graduated from the programme which was conducted in the evenings at NUS Law, said, “Being the Head of Investigation in my division, the course offered me the opportunity to assimilate the experiences I have accumulated over the years as an investigator with what is being taught in the GCCJ programme. The topics covered in the programme allowed me to obtain deeper insights into our legal system and how our roles as law enforcers within the justice system are more complex than what it seems. Being a student in the GCCJ programme provided me with the opportunity to learn from some of the best teachers and practitioners in Singapore’s legal fraternity and gave me new perspectives into administering criminal justice.”

Prof Chesterman said, “The senior investigation officers from the Singapore Police Force who graduate today from the inaugural Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice programme are a model of what the NUS Law Academy aims to achieve. The programme was specially curated to ensure that the skills and knowledge gained from this programme will enhance their law enforcement work and open doors to higher level certification. Congratulations to our graduates!”


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