“Mr Wong had acted very much on his own”: Law Society | publichouse.sg

“Mr Wong had acted very much on his own”: Law Society | publichouse.sg.

The Law Society of Singapore has issued a statement with regards to recent events involving the Law Society and lawyer, M Ravi. Here is the statement in full.

“The Law Society of Singapore (LSS) issues this statement with regard to the reports concerning one of our members, Mr M. Ravi.

Before LSS comments on the recent events, it is useful to know the background. About 4 years ago, LSS was informed of M. Ravi’s medical condition. Council of LSS considered the matter. On one hand, Council was concerned that any lawyer approved by LSS to practise law should have the capacity to do so. This is a duty owed by LSS to the public. On the other hand, LSS also had the duty to assist its members as best as possible.

Accordingly, Council obtained Mr Ravi’s permission to speak with his physician, Dr Calvin Fones. Mr Ravi was also present at this meeting. Dr Fones advised that Mr Ravi was fit to practise, but he had to take his medication regularly, and it would be best if this could be properly supervised.

Acting on this advice, LSS decided to approve Mr Ravi’s application for a Practising Certificate (“PC”) for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 as follows:

(a) For 2009, the condition was that Mr Ravi would practise under the supervision of Ms Violet Netto. This was agreed to by Mr Ravi, as Ms Netto was his choice.

(b) For 2010, the condition was relaxed to allow him to practise in partnership with Ms Netto. For both 2009 and 2010, Mr Ravi was required to furnish reports from Dr Fones every three months.

(c) For 2011, the condition that he be supervised by Ms Netto was re-imposed. The condition that he furnished a medical report was now at 2-monthly intervals. There was an additional condition that he had to take his medication.

(d) For 2012, the condition that he be supervised was removed, and he was allowed to practise in partnership with Ms Netto. In respect of the furnishing of medical reports, this was relaxed to 4-monthly reporting.

LSS took the view that these conditions were a fair balance regarding the interests of the public and the interests of Mr Ravi as a practising lawyer.

It will be noted from the foregoing that LSS relied very much upon Mr Ravi’s own physician regarding his state of health. The conditions were discussed with Mr Ravi, and he accepted them.

As to the events of Monday, 16 July 2012, LSS has ascertained the following:-

(a) Mr Wong Siew Hong, who was the lawyer assigned by LSS to liaise with Mr Ravi and Dr Fones, received information from Dr Fones on Sunday regarding Mr Ravi’s condition. He decided to go to Court on his own volition with Dr Fones’ information.

(b) LSS is satisfied that although Mr Wong had acted very much on his own, he did so with the best of intentions.

(c) A member of the LSS secretariat decided to go down to the Court to observe the proceedings. This was at his own initiative. This staff member has no right of audience before the Courts and there is no basis to suggest that he was there to make an application to prevent Mr Ravi from arguing his case.

(d) Members of Council of LSS were aware of the situation only in the afternoon when they were informed by LSS secretariat that there were enquiries from the press. Council was not in possession of the full facts. As a result, the statement issued in the evening of 16th July 2012 contained the error that LSS had initiated the intervention in the court proceedings.

(e) In the light of Dr Fones’ letter, the matter will be reviewed by the Practice Committee, which will then send its recommendations to Council. In making its decision, Council will continue to take into account the public interests and the interests of its members. In addition Council intends to speak to both Mr Ravi and Dr Fones.

It is very easy to speculate and criticize LSS. LSS is confident that it has discharged its duties properly and in good faith. LSS asks that commentators check their facts, preferably with LSS, before making their comments.

LSS believes that it is important that the public has confidence in LSS as an independent professional body which has always balanced the interests of the public and individual lawyers. Unsubstantiated criticism of LSS is unfair to its volunteers, and does the public a grave disservice. Any suggestion of a conspiracy involving the LSS is untrue and irresponsible.

Wong Meng Meng, SC

President

Law Society of Singapore”

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