Back­logged cases in courts re­duced by 95pc

New Straits Times - - News -

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 .”

PIC COUR­TESY OF UUM

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) .

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