Thursday, March 22, 2007

PRESS RELEASE: Delays in court proceedings

PRESS RELEASE: Delays in court proceedings

Thursday, 22 March 2007, 06:40pm

Ambiga SreenevasanThe right to be heard without delay is a human right.

The Bar Council welcomes the Chief Justice’s move to look seriously into the issue of delays in court cases.

However, singling out “popular lawyers” as a cause is to ignore the many other factors that contribute substantially to the delays in courts.

There is also the important principle that cannot be derogated and that is that an accused person or a litigant has a right to the counsel of his choice.

On the 7th and 8th of April 2005, SUHAKAM held a forum on the right to an expeditious and fair trial. A written report was then prepared by SUHAKAM that dealt comprehensively with the issue of delay and made several recommendations.

The workshop also identified the many factors that contribute to delays in Courts and they include the acute shortage of judges and judicial officers, insufficient support staff, the method of the recording of evidence and the process by which an accused is charged.

Clearly a holistic approach is required as even without a lawyer handling many cases, the court diaries are unable to accommodate early disposal of the cases.

The Malaysian Bar has always been concerned at the ever increasing number of cases that are being filed in our courts and believes the recommendations of SUHAKAM in this regard ought to be seriously considered and implemented.

Dated 21 March 2007

Ambiga Sreenevasan
Bar Council

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