LONDON: Malaysian-born barrister, Ng Jern-Fei has been appointed a Queen’s Counsel, the highest rank that can be awarded to barristers, putting him in the top 10 per cent of the United Kingdom’s 17,000 barristers.
And at 38, the barrister, is the youngest to be appointed as a QC.
Ng, who is currently practicing at Essex Court Chambers, one of the leading commercial sets of barristers chambers in England, grew up in Petaling Jaya and attended SMK La Salle, PJ until Form Five.
“I never imagined that someone with my background could one day end up practicing law in England, much less be appointed as QC. However, I have been fortunate enough to have had the support of my family, clients and colleagues over the years, without whom none of this would have been possible,” said Ng.
Ng, who came to do his A-levels at Cambridge Tutors College in Croydon, went on to study for a BA Hons in Law at Trinity College, University of Cambridge in 1998.
Ng is possibly the third Malaysian to have “taken silk” for this distinguished appointment after the late K.S. Nathan and Eason Rajah.
The ceremony is known as “taking silk” because of the distinct silk gowns worn by QCs.
Ng said that, over the years, he had always been asked why he chose to work in the UK.
“In this regard, if this somehow represents a brain drain from Malaysia, I think the more accurate narrative is that, Malaysia has, through its education system, been able to produce individuals who are able to compete with the world’s best on the global stage.
“Insofar as practice as an advocate is concerned, London is as big as it gets in the world and the fact that someone from a typically Malaysian background like me can harness the skills I have been taught at school in Malaysia in reaching the pinnacle of my chosen profession, is a testament to how far we have come as a nation.
“I should point out that at 38 years of age, I am one of the youngest ever (whether English, Malaysian or Chinese) to be appointed as QC,” said Ng.
Ng’s appointment as QC was first reported in The China Daily. In that report, he was quoted as saying that after graduation, he was being constantly told to consider a career other than being a barrister.
“There really was a time when I believed that for an ethnic Chinese like me to become a barrister was a dream I could never even begin to imagine,” he told The China Daily.
That he defied the naysayers and went on to have a 15-year track record that has seen him win some of the toughest court cases and won some million-pound damages cases, has shown his determination and resilience in a world full of tough competition.
Ng was quoted as saying that the key ingredients to his success have been “determination, hard work, and never letting the orthodox view hold you back”.