@ The Sun Daily (used by permission)
by KEVIN DAVASAGAYAM
PETALING JAYA: Law practitioners have voiced agreement with Chief Justice Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat that the courts have not ground to a halt during the movement control order (MCO) period, supposedly causing a pileup of undisposed cases.
The “wheel of criminal justice” is still spinning at this time, Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir told theSun yesterday.
“I do agree with our chief justice’s statement that the court is still operating, although for now, it is confined only for matters of urgency, including hearings with the consent of parties,” he said.
“e-Filings and e-Review mechanisms for civil cases are still operating but needless to say, it comes with certain limitations for lawyers.
“Without the Commissioner for Oaths, lawyers have trouble submitting affidavits and the restriction in travel hinders them from heading to the office to extract documents for e-Filling.”
He added that the Bar Council is studying the judiciary’s proposal of conducting online hearings for certain cases.
“The Bar Council is conducting an understudy on the judiciary’s proposal. A thorough study is needed and all stakeholders should be engaged before it is implemented.”
Civil lawyer Kokila Vaani Vadiveloo supported the chief justice’s statement and said the courts have been operating within the parameters of the MCO.
“I have personally attended to case managements for civil cases, both at the High Court and Court of Appeal, that are being handled by the Registrars by way of e-Review.”
“This has allowed cases to progress effectively to some extent and the Registrars have been lenient and reasonable with the directions, given the difficulties faced by lawyers during the MCO.”
However, Kokila said that most lawyers have little or no access to physical files in the office.
“The courts are amenable to prioritise on matters of urgency while dispensing justice,” she said.
“Implementation of hearing interlocutory applications via video conferencing by the courts are certainly a step in the right direction.”