Late lawyer, 28, first to be posthumously admitted to S'pore Bar 3 months after sudden death

Vikram had always wanted to practice law, following in the footsteps of his father and uncle.

Low Jia Ying | September 21, 2021, 05:33 PM

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Vikram Kumar Tiwary made legal history in Singapore by being the first person to be posthumously admitted to the Singapore Bar on Monday (Sep. 20).

Vikram, who was 28 years old, passed away suddenly in his sleep from cardiorespiratory failure just nine days before his application for admission to the Bar was to be heard on Jun. 9, 2021, reported CNA.

Holding back tears while speaking to The Straits Times (ST), his mother, Ramoti Tiwary, 62, said his admission to the Bar was "really bittersweet".

"All he wanted to do was practise law"

In the interview with ST, Vikram's parents talked about their son's aspirations to be a lawyer.

His mother Ramoti said:

"From the time he was a small boy, when he used to see his father go to court, all he wanted to do was practise law. He was just nine days away when he was taken away.

He was my confidante, my best friend, my son, my baby, and he always had a smile for everybody."

Ram Prakash Tiwary, 65, Vikram's father, said his son's death came as a shock to the family, as Vikram had no prior health issues.

Ram said he last saw Vikram the night before he passed, when Vikram helped him apply eye drops before going to sleep.

Ramoni discovered her youngest child and only son lying motionless on the floor around noon on May 30.

Vikram's parents, in their testimonial to the court, said:

"Since he was a little boy, he listened in on discussions between his father and uncle about the law, and knew that the law, and especially representing those with no voice, was what his life calling was."

Ram wanted to ensure that his son's name would be on the rolls as a lawyer, to "fulfil his dream" and that his hard work would be "amply rewarded".

Justice Choo: "Justice will be served if his application is allowed"

According to CNA, Vikram's uncle, practising criminal lawyer Ramesh Tiwary, pushed for his nephew to be admitted to the Bar posthumously.

As there were no precedents for an application like this, High Court judge Choo Han Teck adjourned proceedings to ensure there were no legal impediments for granting the application.

The Attorney-General's Chambers, the Law Society and the ingapore Institute of Legal Education (SILE), which supervise Bar admission applications, all had no objections to the application, reported ST.

Vikram's application was also supported by Senior Counsel N. Sreenivasan and Law Society president Gregory Vijayendran.

"It will endure as a lasting legacy of the life of a young man whose potential in law practice was tragically cut short in the prime of youth," Gregory said, according to ST.

Justice Choo granted Vikram's application, noting that he had fulfilled all the requirements for admission, and had even applied to work full-time at the Law Society's Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS) to represent those who cannot afford a lawyer.

He said: "Judging by the efforts of Mr Vikram Tiwary himself, justice will be served if his application is allowed."

Passionate about pro bono work, inspired others to take up law

Vikram graduated from the University of Sheffield with a law degree in 2018 and had completed practice training at K&L Gates Straits Law on Jul. 1, 2020.

According to the Law Society, he applied to be and was accepted as a CLAS Fellow.

He was supposed to start work immediately upon him being called to the Bar.

He had been volunteering by assisting CLAS advocates and fellows.

CLAS is administered by the Law Society's Pro Bono Services.

In a tribute put up on the Law Gazette, his colleagues shared how his time at CLAS left a deep impact on clients and the people he worked with.

A fellow trainee also shared how a conversation with Vikram inspired him to take up law.

Ramesh, Vikram's uncle, told CNA that Vikram seemed to have found his calling in the law, and said:

"While it is tragic that he didn't witness this day, we are grateful to all the stakeholders and to the Supreme Court in granting him this wish."

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Top photos via Vikram Kumar Tiwary/FB and Shyikh Mahdi/FB