ABOUT EARNEST LAU
Earnest is a consultant lawyer with over 20 years of professional legal experience. As an advocate and solicitor (from 1995-2000; and 2013 to date), he has argued cases for clients at all Court levels. As a district judge (from 2000-2013), he has presided in over 60 open court civil trials, over 50 State Coroner inquests, over 500 contested interlocutory hearings, over 100 mediation hearings and over 100 Small Claims Tribunal hearing.
LLB (2nd Upper Hons) University of Nottingham, UK (1992)
Inner Temple, Barrister (1993)
Law Society of Singapore (1995)
Contributing Editor of The Singapore Court Practice (White Book) (2003 and 2007 editions)
Public Administration Medal (Bronze) (PPA) (2009) for “outstanding efficiency, competence and industry” as a district judge
Accredited Mediator, Centre of Excellence in Dispute Resolution (CEDR) / Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC)
Tan Cheng Bock v Attorney-General  SGHC 160;  2 SLR 850. He acted in the plaintiff’s high profile case against the Government of Singapore concerning the constitutional and statutory interpretation of provisions pertaining to the 2017 reserved presidential elections. He was the plaintiff’s instructing solicitor to David Pannick QC, and the second chair supporting Chelva Rajah SC before the High Court and 5-judge CA. Earnest drafted the costs submissions as to why the CA, on grounds of public interest, ought not make any costs order against the plaintiff. Following those submissions, the Attorney General agreed that both sides should bear their own legal costs of the Appeal.
Benber Dayao Yu v Jacter Singh  SGHC 92. He successfully acted for a victim (plaintiff) of cyber harassment case. The defendant had uploaded scandalous web posts concerning the plaintiff on the internet. So the plaintiff applied to the District Court for an order to remove the offending web posts. Unfortunately, the district judge refused the application. Aggrieved by this injustice, the plaintiff appointed Earnest to appeal to the High Court, who allowed the appeal with legal costs against the defendant. This case was also the 1st reported High Court case on ‘higher tier’ harassment under the Protection of Harassment Act.
Seah Teong Kang (co-executor of the will of Lee Koon, decd) and Anor v Seah Yong Chwan (executor of the estate of Seah Eng Teow)  SGCA 48. He represented a plaintiff beneficiary of a will who sought the Court’s interpretation on a gift of shares in a company under liquidation. Earnest argued the case as lead counsel before the High Court and a 3-judge CA to resolve a complex point of succession law (on the transmission and transfers of gifts to executors and beneficiaries) which the CA judges described as “not an easy one by any means”.
Odex Pte Ltd v Pacific Internet Limited  SGDC 248  3 SLR 18. He was the district judge who disallowed SingTel’s application to disclose personal particulars of illegal anime downloaders. The High Court upheld his judgment and dismissed SingTel’s appeal.
American Express Bank Ltd v Abdul Manaff bin Ahmad and Anor  4 SLR(R) 780. Before 2002, judgment creditor banks routinely obtained court garnishee orders to seize the monthly salaries of credit card debtors to force payment of monies owed. One afternoon in 2002, as deputy registrar, Earnest dismissed over 50 of these creditor applications for salary garnishee orders. Subsequently American Express Bank filed a test case to appeal against Earnest’s reasons for dismissal. The appeal judges in District Court and High Court, however, upheld his orders.
DID (65) 6236 9347
AREAS OF PRACTICE
Wills, Probate, Succession Law, Trusts and Equity