The National University of Singapore (NUS) announced today that it will be appointing Professor Hans Tjio as the new Dean of its Faculty of Law (NUS Law). Prof Tjio will succeed Professor Simon Chesterman as NUS Law’s 15th Dean with effect from 1 July 2021.
A leading securities regulation scholar, Prof Hans Tjio is the CJ Koh Professor of Law at NUS Law, and Director of its EW Barker Centre for Law and Business. A graduate of both University of Cambridge and Harvard University, Prof Tjio has taught at NUS Law for more than 30 years, joining as a Senior Tutor in 1990 and rising through the ranks to full Professorship in 2006. He has nurtured many decades of outstanding law students who have made incredible contributions in legal practice, politics and different spheres of society.
Widely regarded as an authority in company, securities regulation and trust law, Prof Tjio has published prolifically in international and local journals. His books, Corporate Law; Principles and Practice of Securities Regulations in Singapore; Financial Services Law and Regulation; and The International Encyclopedia of Laws, Property and Trust Law in Singapore, are renowned treatises extensively consulted by legal practitioners, researchers and students.
Prof Tjio is well-respected in the legal profession and has an illustrious record of engagement with the industry and regulators. Currently a consultant to TSMP Law Corporation, he contributes to the firm’s regulatory practice where he advises on issues ranging from securities law compliance to cryptocurrency and cutting-edge issues in company law. Since 2008, he has been serving as a member of the Securities Industry Council, which administers and enforces the Singapore Code on Take-overs and Mergers including investigation into securities dealings connected with take-over or merger transactions. He is also the Deputy Chairman of the Singapore Exchange Listing Advisory Committee.
Closely involved in work related to legal sector transformation, he was Law Reform Consultant with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (2001 to 2006), member of the Academy of Law Reform Committee (2001 to 2003) and member of the Legal Education Working Group under the Committee to Review Legal Services in 2006.
Contributing to his impressive international experience in teaching and research, Prof Tjio has been appointed visiting professor and scholar at National Taiwan University, University of Auckland, Shanghai’s East China University of Politics and Law, Stanford University and University of Melbourne.
NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said, “NUS is pleased that after a rigorous global search, Prof Hans Tjio has been selected as the next Dean of NUS Law. Hans’ wealth of experience and strong understanding of the evolving legal landscape places him in the best position to chart NUS Law into its next phase of development and steer the Faculty through the rapids and challenges brought about by digitalisation and the COVID-19 pandemic. I am confident that Hans will build on NUS Law’s success and raise its international standing in legal education and research.”
Dean-designate Prof Tjio said, “I am deeply honoured and excited to be accorded this opportunity to lead NUS Law at this moment in time when we have so much talent amongst my colleagues and our students. My goal is to facilitate all the incredible research that they are doing and continue the momentum of our previous Deans in driving interdisciplinary legal education and research alongside business, finance and technology. With the increasing pace of developments, Singapore requires much greater depth and sophistication than ever before among its academics, legal practitioners and business community.
While it is a challenge, there is an opportunity to redefine what it means to be a lawyer. Even as litigation is important for the real economy today, future opportunities for the lawyers we educate are also found in advisory or transactional work, government, business development, regulatory compliance, non-governmental organisations and, as we have seen most recently, in some of the top leadership positions in our largest corporations and funds. I hope to reach out to some of our most successful graduates in these other areas and engage them to help us formulate different career pathways for our students. It is when our innate competencies, developed attributes and unyielding passion come together that we excel.”
Please refer to the Annex for the biography of Prof Hans Tjio.
Expressing his thanks to the out-going Dean Prof Simon Chesterman, Prof Tan said, “On behalf of the NUS community, I would like to express our deep appreciation to Prof Chesterman’s vision and dedication in helming the law school. Under Simon’s stewardship, NUS Law has cemented its position as Asia’s Global Law School where it is now ranked the top law school in Asia and has risen to 10th in the world in the latest QS World University Rankings 2021, and 12th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021 by Subject. He has also raised NUS Law’s status as a leading legal research hub and thought-leader in many areas of legal research.”
Appointed Dean of NUS Law on 1 January 2012, Prof Chesterman will complete his tenure as Dean on 30 June 2021. During nearly a decade at the helm, Prof Chesterman spearheaded enhancements in legal education, including increased Asian and civil law content, as well as experiential learning opportunities through a Centre for Pro Bono & Clinical Legal Education. In 2018, he established a new NUS Law Academy which offers skills-based, industry-relevant courses for professionals in line with the NUS commitment to lifelong learning. A graduate law degree – the Juris Doctor – was launched in 2020 with its first intake in August 2021. Earlier this year, he announced a pilot initiative to increase opportunities for students with diverse backgrounds and skills to study law. He also championed a sea change in legal research, strengthening Singapore’s claim to be a global legal hub, including the creation of six new research centres on topics ranging from Maritime Law and Legal Theory to Artificial Intelligence.
A recognised authority on international law and the author or editor of 19 books, as well as four novels, Prof Chesterman’s work has opened up new areas of research on conceptions of public authority – including the rules and institutions of global governance, state-building and post-conflict reconstruction, the changing role of intelligence agencies, and the emerging role of artificial intelligence and big data.
Professor Simon Chesterman, Dean of NUS Law, said, “Serving as Dean of NUS Law has been the highlight of my professional life. I’m deeply grateful to the colleagues who have worked so hard to build NUS Law into what it is today, and the students whose energy and enthusiasm remind us daily why we come to work. I also want to thank our alumni, whose achievements spur the rest of us on. Given the centrality of the rule of law to Singapore’s success, it has also been a privilege to partner with the government, judiciary, and legal profession to position Singapore as a thought leader in the region and the world. I’m thrilled to be passing the torch to Hans Tjio — a distinguished teacher and scholar, as well as a thoughtful and empathetic leader. And I’m excited to see where he takes us next.”
Prof Chesterman will be taking a long-delayed sabbatical before returning to teaching and research in NUS Law as a senior faculty member. He will continue to contribute thought leadership in areas such as the regulation and governance of artificial intelligence, mentor younger faculty members, and raise the global standing of NUS Law to new heights of excellence.