Down Memory Lane
Within a span of over 40 years, Justice Andrew Ang ’71 had a
legal career that included his time at NUS Law as an academic, a leading
corporate and tax lawyer, and as High Court Judge. During his judicial tenure,
Justice Ang also served as the Chairman of the Singapore Mediation Centre (2006
to 2011). He was also Vice-Chairman of the Law Reform Committee from 2006 to
2011, and a member of NUS Law’s Advisory Board.
Having recently retired after almost 10 years as a High Court Judge, Justice Ang
is currently a consultant with Lee & Lee. He shares with LawLink his memories at
NUS Law both as a student and as an academic, and his favourite moments during
LawLink: What or who inspired you to take on a
career in law?
Justice Ang: I applied to study law at my father’s suggestion. In
retrospect, it was an inspired choice. As there was little that I knew of the
career options a law degree offered, on my own, I would not have chosen to
pursue a career in the law
LawLink: What is your best memory of law
Justice Ang: I don’t think I can single one out
as the ‘best’ memory. However, I do recall fondly the First year classes
conducted by Tommy Koh ’61 (in Criminal Law) and David Wong (in Torts). Later,
as a member of the Law Faculty, I enjoyed the daily tea breaks that we had where
amid biscuits and banter, we often had lively discussions. The good-natured
interaction between faculty members in such a setting conduced to the building
of rapport and, in some instances, even camaraderie.
LawLink: If you could change one thing about
your law school days, what would it be?
Justice Ang: The Faculty then was small in comparison to what it is today.
Naturally the curriculum was mostly prescribed. I would have liked to have more
optional courses available.
LawLink: Having pursued careers as an academic, a practitioner and a judge, what
aspects of each role did you like best?
Justice Ang: As an academic, I enjoyed the freedom to use my time at my
discretion after the necessary preparation for classes. As a practitioner, I
liked the challenge of structuring, drafting and negotiating deals. But the
pressure could be intense at times.
When I went on the bench, one obvious advantage I
immediately noticed was that there were no more urgent phone calls or messages.
The only pressure that I had to deal with as a Judge was that which I put on
myself to deliver timely judgments. More importantly, I often felt gratified to
be able to play a part in righting a wrong.
LawLink: What are some of your favourite
activities that you’ve been able to indulge in after your retirement?
Justice Ang: For me, one of the joys of retirement is the ability to spend time
with my delightful grandchildren. I also have the luxury of settling into my
easy chair to catch up on reading for pleasure. However, it is not all play. I
do appreciate the occasional opportunity to work when I am called upon to
mediate or arbitrate a dispute.