Did you know that Singapore was the first country in Southeast Asia to have a Legal Aid Bureau (LAB) back in 1958? Today, it remains a specialised department under the Ministry of Law which assists in therapeutic justice administration, seeking the best outcomes for families and placing utmost priority on children’s well-being. Bearing such a unique mission, when our law students were extended the opportunity to attend a virtual engagement session led by Ms Lim Hui Min, Director of LAB herself, they participated enthusiastically.
Organised by the Ministry of Law, this session allowed our students to engage with experienced practitioners in the legal industry and gain new insights into the different aspects of legal practice. During her talk, Ms Lim shared that those who seek legal aid are increasingly English-speaking, literate and technology savvy. Hence, the LAB has introduced new digital initiatives such as iLAB, a user-friendly portal to help users determine the type of legal assistance needed and their eligibility for legal aid, making access to justice more convenient and hassle-free.
SUSS students and attendees in the session with Ms Lim Hui Min, Director of Legal Aid Bureau (centre of photo)
The students loaded Ms Lim with challenging questions which she addressed with ease and candour. The questions ranged from therapeutic justice, to justice for housewives, means-testing, assignment of lawyers and budgets. She even offered her heartfelt and honest advice to our students who were aspiring to be family law practitioners. Sharing on the importance of managing workload, she advised the students to set boundaries with future prospects or clients to avoid experiencing burn-out. She also said to constantly self-reflect and recognise the positive aspects of their work and how it fuels them. Concluding the talk, Ms Lim left our students with this, “Conviction trumps all challenges we may face as future family law practitioners.”
Our students left the session with a deeper understanding of the legal aid policy and a better appreciation for the work that LAB does. This is best summed up by our student, Wendy Ong, who shared how this session reaffirmed her desire to practise in family law, “We had the privilege to attend an enlightening and engaging two-hour talk by Ms Lim Hui Min, Director of the Legal Aid Bureau (LAB). By the end of it, I gained newfound appreciation and respect for the work they do and the affirmative desire to practise in family law.”