Lawyers with titles don’t affect judges, says Arifin
PUTRAJAYA: Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria yesterday said honorary titles such as “Datuk”, “Datuk Seri” or “Tan Sri” held by lawyers would not affect judges who presided over cases handled by such lawyers.
He said lawyers were usually referred to as counsels in court and by doing so, everybody would appear to be the same.
“But I can assure you that Tan Sri and Datuk who come before us do not affect us at all. It is the arguments that matter,” he said in a special interview held in conjunction with his upcoming retirement.
Arifin is scheduled to clock out on Friday.
He said judges, who were conferred with titles, would normally inform the Chief Justice “out of courtesy” and to ensure he would not be caught off guard by reading about it in the newspapers the next day.
“When I was offered a title, I will refer to my CJ (chief justice). When a ruler conferred a title, I think it is an honour,” Arifin said, adding that during his tenure as chief justice, he had never objected against judges receiving honorary titles.
Speaking about his last few days before retiring, Arifin said he was glad that he had left a mark in the judiciary in encouraging judges to write and create a culture of love for writing and reading.
“When I started as a CJ in 2011, I did everything that should be done within my tenure and I think I have done whatever that should be done within my power during five years as CJ.
“I am happy that I have left a mark in terms of encouraging judges to write. We have our own journals now and our own annual report where judges and exjudges are invited to write.
“I want to create a culture of love for writing and reading because as judges we have to read, that is why we are always being referred to as learned judge, learned counsel.
“Learned means that you are reading.
“It is a continuous education for judges and lawyers.”