LettersWhat I know about Singapore’s Lee Suet Fern
Lee Suet Fern is alleged to have assisted with arrangements for the execution and witnessing of Lee Kuan Yew’s last will, having “blindly followed the directions of her husband”, and not to have advised the elder Lee to take independent legal advice.
Lee Kuan Yew was himself a lawyer, and the idea that he would have signed anything against his wishes is fantasy. A Court of Three Judges concluded last week that Lee Suet Fern should not be struck off but should be suspended from practice for 15 months for misconduct.
The Court accepted that she was not acting as Lee Kuan Yew’s solicitor, that he never communicated with her in relation to his will (she was abroad), that he was content with his will (which of course he could have changed at any time) and that there was no dishonesty or undue influence involved. No complaint was ever lodged by Lee Kuan Yew or by any of the beneficiaries of the will.
I have known Lee Suet Fern for 40 years. She is a senior lawyer of undisputed ability, ethics and experience, and a partner in a major US global law firm.
When I hosted a lunch for Lee Kuan Yew in 2008 in London, he told me of his trust and admiration for her. Who will believe that he would have had any objection to his daughter-in-law helping to arrange for the witnessing of his will, which she did not draft, or that she acted in any way improperly? In my view, she has been unjustly suspended, a stain on the international reputation of Singapore.
We would be delighted to welcome her back to practise in London where she was trained following her double first at Cambridge.
Sir David Lewis, former lord mayor of London; former president, City of London Law Society