M. Ravi to stop practising law for 6 weeks after psychiatrist prescribes medical leave

SINGAPORE – Human rights lawyer M. Ravi, who has bipolar disorder, will have to stop practising law for six weeks after receiving a medical certificate (MC) from his attending psychiatrist.

In a statement on Friday (Dec 3), the Law Society of Singapore (LawSoc) said this is a safeguard in Mr Ravi’s conditional practising certificate, which was granted to him in 2019.

The society noted that the MC was dated from Dec 2 to Jan 13 next year, both dates included.

Among the conditions of his practising certificate, Mr Ravi has to stop practising law if his attending psychiatrist prescribes at least three days of medical leave within any period of 14 calendar days.

Mr Gregory Vijayendran, president of LawSoc, said in the statement: “In the light of the attending psychiatrist’s prescription of lengthy medical leave, Mr Ravi had to stop practising law.

“This is a vital safeguard in Mr M. Ravi’s conditional practising certificate to protect the interests of the public, the legal profession and the administration of justice.”

Senior Counsel Vijayendran wished the lawyer a “fully and speedy recuperation” and urged him to “use this respite as a time for reflection”.

On Tuesday, Mr Ravi was ordered to personally pay $10,000 in costs for a civil case he brought on behalf of 13 inmates, but which he withdrew at the start of the hearing.

The application, to start judicial review proceedings against the Attorney-General, was filed in the names of the prisoners who had copies of their personal letters forwarded by prison officials to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Justice Ang Cheng Hock said that Mr Ravi’s conduct in the application was wholly unmeritorious and “entirely devoid of legal foundation”.

On Nov 22, the first day of a trial brought by bus drivers against SBS Transit, Mr Ravi accused the judge of being biased and demanded that she disqualify herself from hearing the case.

He had also called SBS’ lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, a “clown” while they were discussing administrative matters.

Mr Ravi was barred in 2016 from applying for a practising certificate for two years, with the High Court saying that his mental condition has caused him to conduct himself “deplorably in relation to the judiciary, his clients and the profession as a whole”.

He returned to law practice in 2019 and worked to represent death row inmates.

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