Professor Woon read law at the National University of Singapore on a Development Bank of Singapore Scholarship, graduating with First Class Honours in 1981. He then proceeded to Cambridge University on a Commonwealth Scholarship, graduating with an LL.M (First Class Honours) in 1983. He was called to the Bar in 1984 and appointed Senior Counsel in 2007. He has appeared in the High Court and Court of Appeal on several occasions, including representing the President in Constitutional Reference No 1 of 1995, which is the only case heard by the Constitutional Tribunal to date.
Professor Woon is currently David Marshall Professor at the Law Faculty, National University of Singapore, where he teaches Company Law and Criminal Law. He was awarded a Faculty Teaching Award for excellence in teaching thrice (2013, 2014 and 2015) and a University Teaching Excellence Award twice (2014 and 2015). He is concurrently Dean of the Singapore Institute of Legal Education (SILE).
In addition he is Patron of the Gunong Sayang Association (which was founded in 1910 to promote Baba culture) and a member of the Films Appeal Committee, the Criminal Practice Committee of the Law Society of Singapore and the Chancery Bar Association of England and Wales. Since January 2016 he has also been a member of the Market Surveillance and Compliance Panel (MSCP) established under the Electricity Market Rules, which is part of the oversight mechanism for the National Electricity Market of Singapore.
He was Attorney-General from 2008 to 2010, having previously served as served as Solicitor-General from 2006 to 2008. He has also been Judge Advocate-General, as well as serving as member of the board of directors of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Presidential Council for Minority Rights.
From 1992 to 1996 he was a Nominated Member of Parliament, during which time he was instrumental in the passage of the Maintenance of Parents Act, which he introduced as a private member’s bill. From 1995 to 1997 he was Legal Adviser to the President and Council of Presidential Advisers.
Between 1989 and 2001 he was a director of Intraco Ltd (serving as chairman of the audit committee) and Natsteel Ltd, both companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Singapore. He was Chairman of the Steering Committee for Review of the Companies Act, which resulted in the Companies (Amendment) Act 2014. In 2011 he was inducted as an Honorary Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Directors. He became a director of St John’s Cambridge (Singapore), a charitable public company set up by St John’s College Cambridge in October 2014. He is also a director of Asian SIL Holdings Pte Ltd, a company established to administer the Asian Society of International Law. In April 2016 he was appointed Special Counsel to the Steering Committee for the Re-writing of the Taiwan Company Act.
Professor Woon is also the Chairman of the Society of International Law Singapore (SILS). He was formerly Deputy Chairman of the Centre for International Law of NUS, an Executive Council Member of the Asian Society of International Law (Asian SIL) and President of the Goethe Institut (Singapore Branch).
From 1998 to 2006 he was Singapore’s ambassador to Germany, Greece, the European Communities, the European Union, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the Holy See. He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of St Gregory the Great by the Holy See in 2006. In 2007 he was an alternate member of the High Level Task Force on Drafting of the ASEAN Charter (serving as Singapore delegation leader during the later half of the process) and presented the completed Charter to the ASEAN Foreign Ministers for signing by the Heads of Government at the Thirteenth ASEAN Summit in November of that year.
Professor Woon is the author of several law books, including Walter Woon on Company Law (now in its third edition), which is a standard text on company law used in law and business schools in Singapore; Woon’s Corporations Law, a commentary on the Companies Act of Singapore; and The ASEAN Charter: A Commentary. He has also published articles in the Malayan Law Journal, the Malaya Law Review, the Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, the Securities Industry Review, the Law Society Journal, the Singapore Academy of Law Journal, the Australian Journal of Corporate Law, the Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, the Korean Society of International Law Journal and the Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs.
He is also the author of four novels: The Advocate’s Devil (Times Books International, 2002), The Devil to Pay (Marshall Cavendish International, 2005), The Devil’s Circle (Marshall Cavendish International, 2011) and The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Marshall Cavendish International, 2014). His short story ‘Sinclair’s War’ placed Third in the Asiaweek Short Story Competition 1983. He was awarded a prize in National Short Story Competition 1985 for the story ‘The Body in Question’. In November 2012 and again in November 2014 he was a featured author at the Singapore Writers Festival organised by the National Arts Council.