Letters to the Editor
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CITATION OF MR CHOO HAN TECK, JUDICIAL COMMISSIONER, SMA LECTURER 1999
I am indeed honoured to read this citation for Judicial Commissioner, Mr Choo Han Teck, who is the SMA Lecturer for 1999.
Mr Choo is a friend of the medical profession. It has been said that as a result of his getting to know doctors in the course of his legal work, he liked what he saw and proceeded to find a wife who is a doctor. That was how he came to marry Lucy.
Mr Choo graduated with a law degree from the University of Singapore in 1979. He started his legal career in 1980 with the local law firm of Murphy & Dunbar. It was there that he got his first taste of medico-legal work. Murphy & Dunbar was already then acting for one of the medical defence organisations.
Mr Choo joined the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore in 1984. He obtained his Master of Laws from Cambridge University in 1986 and proceeded to obtain the diploma in Trial Advocacy Teacher Teaching from Harvard University the same year.
He left the Faculty of Law in 1988 to join the law firm of Allen & Gledhill. He became involved in medico-legal work again. He left to be one of the founding members of Helen Yeo & Partners in July 1992. While back in private practice, Mr Choo has represented doctors, nurses and hospitals in various types of medico-legal cases, ranging from Coroner’s inquiries, civil suits to professional disciplinary inquiries.
Throughout his career, Mr Choo has served in an honorary capacity as legal adviser to various medical organisations. He was the honorary legal advisor to the Association of Private Medical Practitioners of Singapore from 1984 to 1994, the Singapore Medical Association from 1992 to 1995 and the Singapore Nurses Association from 1992 to 1995. He gave of his time and legal expertise freely.
Mr Choo has also lectured on various medico-legal subjects to the Faculty of Medicine, NUS and the College of General Practitioners. The subjects included “Professional Negligence” and “Professional Confidentiality”. He will be speaking on the latter topic today.
Mr Choo was also involved in various capacities in the postgraduate Practice Law Course, which is the course that all aspiring lawyers in Singapore have to go through.
He was the Acting Director and also Chief Examiner in 1984. He was a lecturer and examiner in criminal procedure from 1985 to 1990.
In April 1995, Mr Choo was appointed as a Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court. He is currently in his 5th year as a Judicial Commissioner.
While a Judicial Commissioner, Mr Choo was somehow still involved in medico-legal matters. He was the judge in 2 significant cases involving Singapore Medical Council proceedings.
The first case (in October 1997) involved an appeal by a doctor whose name was removed by the Medical Registrar after a SMC inquiry. One of the charges involved the doctor’s failure to provide an appropriate treatment. Mr Choo upheld the decision of the SMC on the sentence.
The second case (July/August 1999) involved a challenge by a doctor against the procedure in SMC disciplinary proceedings. Important issues were raised about the powers and duties of the Complaints Committee. As the case is pending before the Court of Appeal, I shall speak no further on it on this occasion.
Mr Choo has been in both private practice and the teaching profession. He is now a judge. He is uniquely qualified to speak on today’s topic of “Confidence & Confidentiality - Aspects of the Law”.
The SMA Council is grateful that Mr Choo has accepted their invitation to be the 1999 SMA Lecturer. May I on their behalf, call upon him to now deliver his lecture.
DR LIM TECK BENG