SMU School of Law

The Singapore Management University School of Law (SMU School of Law) is one of the six schools of Singapore Management University. It was set up as Singapore's second law school in 2007, 50 years after the NUS Faculty of Law and 10 years before SUSS School of Law. Before becoming a law school, the school was a Law Department within the School of Business between 2000 and 2007.

Singapore Management University School of Law
- Singapore Management University School of Law Armeninan Street.jpg
The law school building at the corner of Armenian Street and Stamford Road with the city skyline in the background. Between 2007 to 2016, the law school shared its premises with the School of Accountancy and School of Business at Stamford Road.
TypeAutonomous University
Parent institution
Singapore Management University
DeanGoh Yihan
55 Armenian Street
1°17′44″N 103°51′00″E / 1.29556°N 103.85012°E / 1.29556; 103.85012Coordinates: 1°17′44″N 103°51′00″E / 1.29556°N 103.85012°E / 1.29556; 103.85012
Logo of the Singapore Management University

The school offers a four-year undergraduate single Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree programme and a double degree programme combining the law degree programme with one of SMU's existing non-law programmes. The school also offers a graduate Juris Doctor (JD) programme as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) programme. The Dual LLM in Commercial Law, which confers LLM degrees from Queen Mary University of London and SMU, was launched in 2015.

Admission to the law programme is competitive: in the 2015 University Admissions Exercise, both the 10th and 90th percentile had an Indicative Grade Profile (of Singapore-Cambridge GCE A-Level qualifications) of AAA/A; approximately 1,300 applicants were shortlisted for an interview and a written test.[1][2]

Since the launch of its international moots programme in 2010, the school has been to the championship final of the largest and most established international moot court competitions and holds the world records for most number of international moot championship finals in a season and most number of international moot championships in a season.


PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Kwa Geok Choo Law Library during the official launch of the School of Law building in 2017
Inside the Kwa Geok Choo Law Library
A segregated third of the function hall in the basement

The School of Law was preceded by the Law Department, which was created in 2000 and part of the university's Lee Kong Chian School of Business, and headed by Professor Andrew Phang (now Judge of Appeal, Supreme Court of Singapore).[3] A full-fledged law school was established in 2007 – 50 years after the establishment of the first and then-only law school in Singapore, National University of Singapore Faculty of Law — following a review by the government that concluded there was a shortage of qualified legal personnel in Singapore.[4][5]

The school's first dean was Professor Michael Furmston, a leading authority on contracts and commercial law in the Commonwealth.[6] He headed the school from its inception in 2007 to 2012. Professor Yeo Tiong Min SC was then the dean from 2012 to 2017.[7][8] Professor Goh Yihan has been the dean since 2017.[9]

On 18 March 2009, the Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) programme was launched.[10] In May 2010, the Continuing Legal Education programme (since re-branded as SMU Law Academy) was launched.[11]

In March 2013, the school became the first Asian law school to join the THEMIS network[12] and in November that year a partnership was set up with Yonsei University for a dual JD programme.[13]

The Applied Research Centre for Intellectual Assets and the Law in Asia (ARCIALA), as well as the Centre for Cross-Border Commercial Law in Asia, were launched in May 2015[14][15] and in June that year the school signed a sponsorship and training agreement with WongPartnership.[16] In August, it launched a dual LLM with Queen Mary, University of London.[17]

The law school building relocated in December 2016 to Armenian Street[18] and in October 2017, a Pro Bono Centre was launched.[19]

In June 2018, the school received a $4.5m grant from the NRF and IMDA to helm a research programme on AI and data use.[20] In July that year it launched the LLM in Judicial Studies[21] and in September a Centre for AI and Data Governance.[22]

In June 2019, the Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy came under the auspices of the law school, having been previously under the Singapore Academy of Law.[23]

Former Judge of Appeal VK Rajah giving a speech at SMU School of Law in 2017. He was on the school's advisory board between 2008 and 2012 and has been chairman of the board since 2017.

There is an Advisory Board which provides advisory assistance to the School of Law; it routinely includes Supreme Court judges, senior litigators, corporate lawyers, managing partners of law firms, and partners of foreign law firms. The Advisory Board is currently chaired by former Judge of Appeal and Attorney-General VK Rajah SC.[24] Rajah, together with former Supreme Court judges Yong Pung How and Chao Hick Tin, serve as Distinguished Fellows.[25]


A seminar room

Undergraduate and postgraduateEdit

To be admitted to the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programme, applicants should have good passes in their respective GCE A-Level subjects and also at minimum an A or a B for H1 General Paper or H2 Knowledge and Inquiry. In the 2015 University Admissions Exercise, both the 10th and 90th percentile had an Indicative Grade Profile (of 3H2/1H1 content-based subjects) of AAA/A.[1] Potential candidates are called for a short written test and a group interview.

The LLB programme is a four-year programme; it is also possible to enroll in the double degree programme (combining law with accountancy, business, economics, information systems, or social sciences). Students must also complete ten weeks of internship and 80 hours of community service to graduate. The law school is partnered with law schools including Peking University, University of New South Wales, University of San Diego, and University of St Gallen for direct law-to-law exchange.[26]

Based on the 2017 Graduate Employment Survey, 97.6% of the school's graduates found employment; the school's graduates also commanded the highest mean basic monthly salary among all schools in the university.[27] In the 2018 survey, the overall rate was 92.7%.[28] Alumni of the school are well-represented in the major law firms, the Supreme Court Justices' Law Clerk scheme.[29]

The SMU Juris Doctor programme is an additional route for persons who already have a degree in another discipline or a law degree not recognised for the purpose of admission to the Singapore Bar to become members of the Singapore legal profession. Applicants must have completed at least three years of full-time undergraduate education and show proficiency in the English language. SMU's JD curriculum is a mix of compulsory law courses and electives. Similar to all SMU undergraduates, six weeks of internship and 50 hours of community service are required for graduation. Students are required to complete a total of 25 Credit Units of law courses. Although students are expected to complete the programme within three years, the programme may be accelerated.[30]

Completion of the either the LLB or JD allows a student to apply to do the bar examination and be called as a lawyer.[31]

There are three Master of Laws (LLM) options: the LLM in Cross-Border Business and Finance Law in Asia, the Dual LLM in Commercial Law (Singapore and London), and the LLM in Judicial Studies (which is offered jointly with the Supreme Court of Singapore). The first two options are one-year programmes while the dual LLM is a 15-month programme where students split their time between SMU and Queen Mary University of London.[32]


The SMU Law Academy or SMULA runs seminars on developments in the law for the legal profession; attendees receive Continuing Professional Development points. Courses taught to the LLB, JD, and LLM students may also be audited.[33]

Student lifeEdit

International moot competitionsEdit

Moot court training session in progress at the David Marshall Moot Court

Since the launch of its international moots programme in 2010, the school has been to the championship final of the largest and most established international moot court competitions: Jessup (2013 and 2014), Vis (2015 and 2016), Vis East (2015 and 2016), Price (2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018), ICC (2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018), Frankfurt (2015 and 2017), IHL (2016 and 2019), and International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot (2016). As of December 2019, SMU has emerged champions 25 times, 1st-runner-up 24 times, and 2nd-runner-up 28 times in international moot competitions, in addition to winning hundreds of Best Oralist and Best Memorial prizes and 14 national round championships (including five Jessup national titles in the last seven years).[34][35] It set a world record of eight international moot finals in a single season in 2014/15 (winning a world record five), a feat it bettered in 2015/16 when it reached nine international moot finals.[34][36][37] It also became the first university in the history of international moots to successfully defend a major moot international title when it won back-to-back championships in the ICC moot in 2015 and 2016; it became the second university to do the same when it won back-to-back championships in the Price moot in 2016 and 2017.[36][37]

Law reformEdit

SMU students have given representations at various law reform efforts, including during the Constitutional Commission's hearing on the elected presidency[38] and the Select Committee's hearing on deliberate online falsehoods.[39]

Research impactEdit

The faculty have appeared as amicus curiae before courts in Singapore and overseas.[40][41] The faculty have also authored various leading texts regularly cited by the courts, such as The Law of Torts in Singapore by Gary Chan and The Law of Contract in Singapore by Goh Yihan et al.

In the QS World University Rankings by subject, the school was ranked 101–150 for Law and Legal Studies from 2013 to 2016 and 2019.[42]


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  2. ^ "Indicative Grade Profiles and Number of Course Places Guidance Information for 2015 University Admissions Exercise" (PDF). Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  3. ^ "NewsReleases - New book on contract law written from a local..."
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  11. ^ "NewsReleases - Continuing Professional Development will..."
  12. ^ Post Magazine. "SMU reinvents tertiary learning and teaching for the Asian century | South China Morning Post". Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  13. ^ "SMU-Yonsei to start joint law programme".
  14. ^ "Opening Address by Senior Minister of State for Law, Indranee Rajah at Launch Seminar of the Applied Research Centre for Intellectual Assets and the Law in Asia". Ministry of Law. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
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  16. ^ "SMU bags 2nd place in two moot court contests". The Straits Times. 30 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 February 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ migration (20 January 2014). "SMU's new School of Law building to be ready by 2017".
  19. ^ "SMU law students to help empower the elderly". Today. 6 October 2017.
  20. ^ "New council to advise Singapore Government on ethical use of AI, data". Channel NewsAsia.
  21. ^ "Legal community can play role in Asean integration". The Straits Times. 27 July 2018.
  22. ^ "SMU launches AI research centre; will look at ethics and impact on Singapore's workforce". Channel NewsAsia. 24 September 2018.
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  24. ^ "Advisory Board | School of Law". Singapore Management University. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
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  36. ^ a b "More Thoughts on Another Record-breaking Season for Singapore's International Mooters". Law Gazette. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  37. ^ a b "Another Season of Record-Breaking International Moot Court Achievements (SMU)". Law Gazette. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  38. ^ "Constitutional Commission on elected presidency: SMU students' submission". The Straits Times. 22 April 2016.
  39. ^ "Social media platforms can be ordered to remove content, say law students". The Straits Times. 29 March 2018.
  40. ^ "Apex court ends a 40-year battle, dismissing developer's compensation claims against Grange Heights condo". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  41. ^ "IVF mix-up: Awarding damages 'would not belittle child's value'". Today. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  42. ^ "Singapore Management University Rankings". Top Universities. Retrieved 3 March 2019.