Backlogged cases in courts reduced by 95pc
JITRA: Backlogged cases at all courts have been reduced between 90 and 95 per cent following a reform by the judiciary to shorten the time taken for proceedings to be completed.
Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said he had given a new timeline for the courts to clear criminal and civil cases after assuming the post last month.
For example, he said, the time taken for proceedings for commercial and civil cases had been reduced to between six and nine months.
As for backlogged cases, he said up to 95 per cent were dealt with within the stipulated time.
Raus said as for criminal cases, especially those involving the death penalty, the hearing should be conducted within a year while the appeal at the Court of Appeal should be heard within nine months, and another nine months for disposal at the Federal Court.
He said before the new timeline was introduced, a murder case might take between 10 and 15 years before it reached the highest court.
“Imagine a person being found guilty at the High Court but is later released by the Federal Court. The innocent man could have spent 10 to 15 years in prison,” he said.
Raus said when former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi ordered courts to clear backlogged cases after he took office in 2008, the timeline was then reduced to four years.
He hoped the timeline would be further shortened to less than three years.
Raus said this after witnessing the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding between Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) and Federal Court’s Chief Registrar’s office yesterday.
The cooperation allows the sharing of knowledge and expertise for students and lecturers at UUM’s School of Law.
Present were UUM Vice-Chancellor Professor Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak and Federal Court chief registrar Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar.
Earlier, during a dialogue session with law students, Raus said that when the reform initiative was made he had managed to clear more than 7,000 backlogged cases at the Appeal Court during his tenure as ist president.
“When I came in, there were over 10,700 backlogged cases at the court but the number has been reduced to only 3,000 before I left office,” he said.
Raus said the delay in court proceedings was due to the nature of the case and also human factors, including applications for postponement by lawyers.
“Of course, the counsel sometimes asks to postpone cases. We have to discuss this with the Bar Council and ask it to reduce the number of postponed cases .”
UUM Vice-Chancellor Professor Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak (seated, second from left) and Federal Court chief registrar Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar (seated, second from right) signing the memorandum of understanding between Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) and Federal Court’s Chief Registrar’s office in Sintok yesterday. Present is Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif (standing, second from left) .