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Jump to: Introduction | Table of Past AGs | Short Biographies

History of AGCThe office of the Attorney-General in Singapore can be traced back to the establishment of the Straits Settlements by the British Government in 1867. Prior to 1867, the function of legal advisor to the Government was exercised by the Recorder of the Prince of Wales Island (Penang), Malacca and Singapore from 1826 to 1855, the Recorder of Singapore from 1855 to 1864 and the Crown Counsel, Singapore from 1864 to 1867.

Sir Thomas Braddell was appointed in 1867 as the first Attorney-General of the newly-created Straits Settlements. He was based in Singapore while his Solicitor-General, Mr Daniel Logan, was based in Penang.

After the fall of Singapore in Feb 1942, the Japanese Administration set up an office of the Kensatku-Kan or Attorney-General and Public Prosecutor. This was located in the Supreme Court Building.

With the surrender of the Japanese in 1945, the responsibility for rendering legal advice to the British Military Administration lay with its Chief Legal Officer until the establishment on 1 Apr 1946 of the Crown Colony of Singapore and the appointment of Sir Edward John Davies, K.C. as the Attorney-General of the Colony.The Chambers returned to its former premises on the ground floor of the Government Building at Empress Place.

When Singapore attained self-government in 1959, Mr Ahmad Ibrahim was appointed as the State Advocate-General of the State of Singapore and, after the separation from Malaysia in 1965, as the Attorney-General of the Republic of Singapore. He was succeeded by Mr Tan Boon Teik whose long tenure witnessed the re-location of the Chambers twice - first to the High Street premises in 1971 and then to the present offices in the Adelphi Building in 1991.

Mr Chan Sek Keong succeeded Mr Tan as the Republic's third Attorney-General in May 1992.

Chronological Table of Past Attorneys-General

Jump to: Introduction | Table of Past AGs | Short Biographies

Attorneys-General of Singapore

1 Apr
- 1 Jan 1883 Thomas Braddell
2 Jan 1883 - 2 Oct 1883 John Augustus Harwood (Acting)
3 Oct 1883 - 6 Nov 1893 John Winfield Bonser
7 Nov 1893 - 4 Feb 1906 William Robert Collyer
5 Feb 1906 - 28 Feb 1907 John Robert Innes (Acting)
1 Mar 1907 - 31 Dec 1909 Walter John Napier
1 Jan 1910 - 20 Feb 1911 Frederick Belfield
21 Feb 1911 - 24 Jan 1913 Thomas de Multon Lee Braddell
25 Jan 1913 - 24 Apr 1913 Evelyn Campbell Ellis (Acting)
25 Apr 1913 - 18 Nov 1919 Gerald Aubrey Goodman
19 Nov 1919 - 9 Jul 1925 James William Murison
10 Jul 1925 - 12 Jul 1929 Michael Henry Whitley
13 Jul 1929 - 20 Apr 1933 Walter Clarence Huggard
21 Apr 1933 - 10 Aug 1936 Percy Alexander McElwaine
27 Oct 1936 - 14 Dec 1936 Newnham Arthur Worley (Acting)
11 Aug 1936 - 14 Feb 1942 Charles Gough Howell

(Attorney-General and Public Prosecutor of the Japanese Administration)

  Feb 1942 -   Sep 1945 Ichihara Kakka

Chief Legal Officer, British Military Administration

  Sep 1945 - 31 Mar 1946 Lt Col TC Spencer- Wilkinson

Attorneys-General of the Crown Colony of Singapore

1 Apr 1946   5 Sep 1955 Edward John Davies
6 Sep 1955   1 Jul 1957 Charles Harris Butterfield
2 Jul 1957   24 Jun 1959 E P Shanks

State Advocates-General of the State of Singapore

25 Jun 1959 - 8 Aug 1965 Ahmad bin Mohamed Ibrahim

Attorneys-General of the Republic of Singapore

9 Aug 1965 - 31 Jan 1967 Ahmad bin Mohamed Ibrahim
1 Feb 1967 - 31 Dec 1968 Tan Boon Teik (Acting)
1 Jan 1969 - 30 Apr 1992 Tan Boon Teik
1 May 1992 - 10 Apr 2006 Chan Sek Keong
11 Apr 2006 -

Short Biographies of some Past Attorneys-General

Jump to: Introduction | Table of Past AGs | Short Biographies

Sir Thomas Braddell (1 Apr 1867 to 1 Jan 1883)

Sir Thomas BraddellSir Thomas Braddell was Singapore 's first Attorney-General and the patriarch of the illustrious Braddell legal family. Braddell was called to Gray's Inn in 1859.

He was appointed Attorney-General from 1867 to 1883. His sons, Thomas de Multon Lee Braddell and Robert Wallace Lee Braddell established the law firm Braddell Brothers in 1883.

Walter John Napier (1 Mar 1907 to 31 Dec 1909)

Walter John Napier Sir Walter Napier arrived in Singapore in 1889 after being admitted to the English Bar and joined Alfred Drew in the partnership of Drew & Napier. In 1898, he published his "Introduction to the Study of the Law Administered in the Colony of the Straits Settlements."

He was Attorney-General of Singapore from 1907 to 1909.

Sir Thomas de Multon Lee Braddell (21 Feb 1911 to 24 Jan 1913)

Sir Thomas de Multon Lee Braddell Sir Thomas de Multon Lee Braddell was born in Province Wellesley in 1856. He read law at Oxford and was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1879.

He practised law with his father, Sir Thomas Braddell. In 1911, he was appointed Attorney-General of Singapore, holding that appointment until 1913.

Ahmad bin Mohamed Ibrahim (9 Aug 1965 to 31 Jan 1967)

Ahmad bin Mohamed Ibrahim Professor Ahmad Ibrahim was born on 20 May 1916. He was educated at Victoria School, Raffles Institution and Raffles College, Singapore. In 1936, he won the Queen's Scholarship and proceeded to St. John's College, Cambridge .

In 1941, he was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple. Prior to independence, Mr Ahmad Ibrahim acted at State Advocate-General from 1959 to 1965. He served as Attorney General of the Republic of Singapore from 1965 to 1967.

Tan Boon Teik (1 Feb 1967 to 31 Dec 1968) (1 Jan 1969 to 30 Apr 1992)

Tan Boon Teik Mr Tan Boon Teik graduated from University College London with an Honours degree in law in 1951. In 1953, he received his Masters of Laws degree from the same university. He was the Rockefeller Fellow at the University of London Institute from 1961 to 1962. Mr Tan is a Barrister-at-Law having been called to the Bar in England by Middle Temple. He is also an Advocate and Solicitor in Malaysia and Singapore.

Mr Tan was appointed the Attorney-General of Singapore in 1969 and he retired in 1992.


Chan Sek Keong, Attorney-General (1 May 1992 to 10 Apr 2006)

Mr. Chan Sek Keong Mr Chan Sek Keong was born in Ipoh, Perak and received his early education at Anderson School, Ipoh. He read law at the University of Malaya in Singapore and was among the inaugural group of 22 to graduate from the Law Faculty in 1961. Mr Chan was admitted to the Singapore Bar on 31 Jan 1962.

He began his practice at the firm of Braddell Brothers and in 1969 joined the firm of Shook Lin & Bok.

On 1 Jul 1986, Mr Chan became the first person to be appointed as Judicial Commissioner. His elevation to the position of a Judge of the Supreme Court soon followed in 1988. On 1 May 1992, Mr Chan Sek Keong was appointed Attorney-General of Singapore.  He relinquished the position on 11 Apr 2006, when he was appointed Chief Justice of the Republic of Singapore.

Last updated on 12 December, 2007

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7 January, 2008