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Stop blaming courts for delays, says CJ

LANGKAWI, 18 March 2009: Chief Justice Tan Sri Zaki Azmi has called on the public to stop blaming the courts for delays in hearing of their cases.

“Stop blaming the courts all the time. The courts are always ready for the hearing….any case involves so many parties and most of the delays are due to these parties,” he said at a press conference in conjunction with the Malaysia Judges Conference 2009, here, today.

Zaki said based on a one-month study carried out in the peninsula, 80% of case postponements were caused by the parties, including the accused, defence lawyers and prosecuting officials, other than the courts.

“An accused should choose a willing and able lawyer, otherwise, there will be delays due to ‘double or triple parking’.

“This means that the lawyer sometimes has to be in two or three different courts at the same time. Therefore, when the court fixed the date for hearing, you (lawyer) must take it seriously because the pressure is on everybody,” he said.

Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Allaudin Mohd Sheriff said in the hearing of criminal cases, most of the postponements were due to requests from the accused themselves.

“We want to let it be known here that not only the courts should be blamed each time a hearing is postponed as it also involves other parties.

“With regards to the Court of Appeal, we are always trying to find ways to improve performance and monitoring the backlog of cases with the setting up of a panel for the management and disposal of cases.”

Allaudin said since the panel was formed in August last year, many cases had been disposed of within a short time.

Meanwhile, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum said the courts in Borneo were now focusing more on enhancement in order to change public perception of the judiciary and courts.

“We must work hard to change (public) mindsets and erase public perception that the court is always wrong.

“We are striving to achieve the target of disposing of a crime case within three to six months after the accused had been charged, and 12 to 18 months for a civil case.”

Malanjum said the courts in Sabah and Sarawak were not facing a big problem as the cases heard were smaller in number than in the peninsula, but nevertheless, they were not allowed to be delayed.

Among those attending the annual conference to find ways to improve the judiciary’s delivery system and for judges to exchange views and ideas, were the Chief Judge of Malaya Datuk Ariffin Zakaria and Chief Registrar of the Federal Court Hasnah Hashim. — Bernama


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