Re Ram Kishan

JurisdictionSingapore
JudgeChua F A J
Judgment Date18 February 1992
Neutral Citation[1992] SGHC 30
Date18 February 1992
Subject MatterMerits of application,Admission,Standard of scrunity,Onus of proof,Grossly improper conduct in discharge of professional duties as a result of mental illness,Legal Profession,ss 61 & 102 Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, 1990 Ed),Whether any likelihood of mental illness recurring,Replacement on roll of advocates and solicitors
Docket NumberOriginating Motion No 116 of 1991
Published date19 September 2003
Defendant CounselHan Juat Jong (State Counsel),Leslie Chew Kwee Hoe (Khattar Wong & Partners)
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Plaintiff CounselCKV Raghavan (CKV Raghavan)

Cur Adv Vult

This is an application by originating motion before a court of three judges under s 61 of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161, 1990 Ed) that the name of Ram Kishan (`the applicant`) be replaced on the roll of advocates and solicitors of the Supreme Court. The applicant had been struck off the roll by a court order dated 15 August 1983 as a result of his being found guilty of grossly improper conduct in the discharge of his professional duties.

The applicant was called to the English Bar on 22 November 1960 and was admitted as an advocate and solicitor on 22 September 1961.
From 1962 to 1965 he served in the Attorney General`s chambers in Brunei as a deputy public prosecutor and state counsel, and from 1965 to 1968 as a stipendiary magistrate and coroner in the judicial service of Sabah in East Malaysia. In early 1969, on completion of his contract of service in Sabah he returned to Singapore. He practised law in Singapore as a legal assistant with various law firms until October 1973 when he commenced practice on his own under the style and firm name of Ram Kishan.

On 12 December 1981, the applicant drew a cheque for $4,000 on his clients` account in favour of Thomas Tham & Partners, another law firm, but the cheque was returned unpaid on presentation as the clients` account of the applicant had insufficient funds.
On 23 January 1982, he drew another cheque for $4,000 on his clients` account in favour of Thomas Tham & Partners in purported replacement of the earlier cheque, but this cheque was also returned unpaid on presentation as there were still insufficient funds in the clients` account to meet payment. Thomas Tham & Partners complained to the Law Society which began investigation into the state of his clients` account. Following the investigation, the Law Society obtained an order of court on 7 June 1982 removing him as trustee of all his clients` money and of all his clients` account, and the Vice-President of the Law Society and a public accountant were appointed trustees in his place.

Arising from these events, the Law Society also commenced proceedings against him.
A disciplinary committee was appointed on 25 August 1982 to enquire into the complaints, and on 30 March 1983, the disciplinary committee found that he had violated the provisions of the then Solicitors` Accounts Rules 1967, and was also guilty of grossly improper conduct in the discharge of his professional duties. On the application of the Law Society and by an order of court on 15 August 1983, his name was struck off the roll of advocates and solicitors. Before this date, however, he had ceased practice on his own volition on 14 September 1982.

While these events were in motion, the applicant was also being investigated by the Commercial Crime division of the Singapore Police with regard to defalcation in his clients` account.
On 10 August 1983, he was charged in the subordinate courts on five counts of criminal breach of trust punishable under the then s 409 of the Penal Code. He pleaded guilty to the fifth charge of criminal breach of trust of $67,194.78 and the other four charges were taken into consideration. He made full restitution of the sums involved and was given a conditional discharge for 12 months. The trustees who had been appointed to the applicant`s clients` account made their own investigations and found a shortfall of $118,315.65 as the total amount owed by him to his various clients. He made full restitution by eventually paying the trustees a total sum of $126,472.41 to cover the shortfall and costs incurred, and the trustees were discharged by court order on 18 July 1988.

It appears, however, that the applicant`s misfortunes resulted from some mental abnormality, as he himself terms it, which the psychiatrists who attended to him ascribed to a mental disorder known as manic depressive psychosis.
He in fact first became ill while he was in England while pursuing his law studies, and was admitted to Horton Hospital, Surrey, which is a psychiatric hospital, from November 1956 to May 1957 where he was treated for a typical manic...

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10 cases
  • Knight Glenn Jeyasingam v Law Society of Singapore
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • July 6, 2007
    ...upon to discharge the professional duties of an advocate and solicitor with honour and integrity. 20 As the court in Re Ram Kishan [1992] 1 SLR 529 pointed out at 533, [14], in an application for restoration, the onus is on the applicant to convince the court that “he is still a person on w......
  • Re Nirmal Singh s/o Fauja Singh
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • July 6, 2001
    ... ... Lastly, we come to the case of Re Ram Kishan [1992] 1 SLR 52 9. There, the applicant, formerly an advocate and solicitor, was struck off the roll on 15 August 1983 following a finding of the Disciplinary Committee of the Law Society that he had violated the Solicitors` Accounts Rules 1967 and was also guilty of grossly improper conduct in ... ...
  • Narindar Singh Kang v Law Society of Singapore
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • September 7, 2007
    ...connection with the application. 28 By way of a few general observations, firstly it is clear, as this court observed in Re Ram Kishan [1992] 1 SLR 529 (at 533, [14]), that “the onus will be on [the applicant] to convince a court of three judges that he is still a person on whose integrity ......
  • Nirmal Singh s/o Fauja Singh v Law Society of Singapore
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • November 12, 2010
    ...4 SLR (R) 641; [2007] 4 SLR 641 (refd) Nirmal Singh s/o Fauja Singh, Re [2001] 2 SLR (R) 494; [2001] 3 SLR 608 (refd) Ram Kishan, Re [1992] 1 SLR (R) 260; [1992] 1 SLR 529 (refd) Legal Profession Act (Cap 161,2001 Rev Ed) ss 83 (1) , 102,102 (1) Penal Code (Cap 224,1985 Rev Ed) Prevention o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Legal Profession
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2001, December 2001
    • December 1, 2001
    ...been previously a police inspector. This scrutiny of the past was perfectly justifiable since, according to the court in Re Ram Kishan[1992] 1 SLR 529 at 533: “Unless the court is completely satisfied on all material before it that there is no likelihood that the applicant will repeat the s......
  • Legal Profession
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2007, December 2007
    • December 1, 2007
    ...argue against, and interestingly, the precedents also do not suggest, an enhanced onus. For instance, the court in Re Ram Kishan[1992] 1 SLR 529 at 533 spoke of ensuring that the reinstated applicant would be a person of ‘integrity and honour’. In Re Nirmal Singh s/o Fauja Singh[2001] 3 SLR......

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