About Me


In my 16 years + as a practising Advocate & Solicitor in Singapore, I was at the forefront of several landmark human rights and constitutional law cases before the Supreme Court. The cases involved the following issues:

  • Constitutionality of the Mandatory Death Penalty
  • Presidential Pardon and Clemency
  • Right to a By-election
  • Decriminalisation of Homosexuality Laws
  • Religious Freedom
  • Freedom of Expression/ Defamation
  • Contempt of Court
  • Freedom of Assembly
  • Constitutionality of Corporal Punishment
  • Right of Access to Legal Representation

As a non-practising Advocate & Solicitor currently, I remain actively involved in a number of international human rights matters. I work on an Independent Consultant basis assisting local and foreign law firms and various NGOs and international legal organisations. I provide key support in leading strategic alliances within Singapore and with law firms internationally, provide knowledge management, research and some development and management support. As a Clinical Legal Coach & Mentor, I am a trainer and public speaker on all matters relating to Dispute Resolution, Arbitration, Civil and Criminal Litigation, Constitutional Law and Human Rights Law. Many of my talks have been held for the benefit of lawyers overseas and for the rights activist groups.

In addition to my core work listed above, I am Member of Avocats Sans Frontieres and a Member of ADPAN, an Asian Regional Anti-Death Penalty Organisation.

I am also very passionate about writing articles and have 3 book under my belt, the most well-known of which is Kampong Boy, Time permitting, I love gathering powerful legal quotes from the world over. I plan to share some with you in this website where possible.

My cause lawyering efforts have been critically acclaimed in a US publication. My human rights advocacy and challenge to the mandatory death sentence has been featured in a documentary film (Video Link Below). I also continue to remain active in pro bono work in Singapore and am regularly invited as a guest speaker at various local and global events. Recently, I was cited in “The Naysayer’s Book Club: 26 Singaporeans You Need to Know” by Simon Vincent which features a chapter on my cause-lawyering activities.


“Ravi has an aggressive and somewhat discursive courtroom style that can yield dividends. In the Yong case, Ravi backed the government into a corner, forcing it to admit that the President of Singapore does not make an independent judgment on clemency petitions but merely executes the will of the Cabinet.”

John Berthelsen, Asia Sentinel (2010)


“ ... Ravi’s initiative in challenging the legality of the death penalty led to a temporary moratorium on hangings in Singapore for about a year... Ravi’s impact as a cause lawyer has undoubtedly had some effect on the way the Singapore government has approached death penalty cases. ... Ravi has made it possible for unpopular and unusual causes to have their day in court... the visibility and presence of Ravi as a cause lawyer, the exception to the Singapore general rule, in some way created the conditions of possibility for other lawyers to step up and play the role of cause lawyer. ... It may well be that Ravi is the only lawyer in Singapore who can, at the present time, justifiable lay claim to being called a cause lawyer. ...Ravi is a striking expression of an exception that holds the promise of a shift away from the general rule of the masked and absent Singapore cause lawyer”

Jothie Rajah and Arun K. Thiruvengadam, “Of Absences, Masks and Exceptions: Cause Lawyering in Singapore,” Wisconsin International Law Journal, Volume 31, No 3, 2013


“It is perhaps too early at this stage to ascertain whether this shift in constitutional law will continue in its current trajectory or whether it is merely an exceptional and temporary phase created by the presence of a maverick lawyer on the constitutional law scene. Indeed, this is the question that Rajah and Thiruvengadam emphasise in their article of causing lawyering, which among others, examines the role that lawyer M Ravi plays in advancing constitutional law in Singapore.”

Jaclyn L Neo, “Constitutional Interpretation in Singapore: Theory and practice”, Routledge, June 2016 at page 4


“M. Ravi has made his mark in causes like death penalty abolition, voting rights and gay rights. When asked if “social norms” need to be factored in his work, the human rights lawyer Ravi says, “they have to be tested”. Martin Luther King challenged the unfair laws-apartheid-was it the right time or the wrong time?... Just do what is right and then let society speal ... We in court-we focus on the legal issues”.

Simon Vincent, “The Naysayer’s Book Club: 26 Singaporeans You Need to Know” which includes a chapter, “M, Ravi: The Cause Lawyer”, March 2018


"Mr. Ravi is respected internationally as a prominent member of the Singapore legal community specializing in cases involving human rights. Mr. Ravi’s performance as a barrister provides ample evidence that he is highly competent to represent clients."

Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (2015)


"We have had the opportunity to work with M. Ravi in a number of instances. To his credit, he has been regularly willing to take up cases in Singapore where human rights concerns are central, such as cases involving the death penalty, freedom of expression and speech, and LGBT rights. M. Ravi has provided quality legal counsel no matter how controversial the case or the issues and causes involved, and in doing so has helped make Singapore a better, more humane place.”

Human Rights Watch (2015)


“Ravi’s rock-firm, inspiring dedication to this cause makes him a major figure, recognized and respected by major international human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Thanks to Ravi’s efforts, death row prisoners may yet live to see the day when Singapore follows the global trend towards total abolition.”

Amnesty International Canada (2013)



For contributions to Gay Rights
Litigation, 2013


Nominated for the National
Literature Singapore Prize

Singapore Advocacy Awards

Received in 2014 for contribution as an outstanding human rights lawyer

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and as data privacy laws will be adhered
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No content on this website is to be used,
downloaded or replicated without permission.