Saturday, January 23

Environmental court being considered for Sabah

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KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah High Court is considering setting up a specialized environmental court for civil cases, said Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum.

During his speech at the Opening of the Legal Year 2015 which was carried out at the Kota Kinabalu Courthouse here yesterday, Richard said that an environmental court would help to expedite the disposal of environmental cases at the High Court and Lower Courts.

“The Chief Judge of Malaya and Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak will conduct a study to assess the need for such courts in the respective High Court,” he said.

According to him, the fact that the Green Court was established shows that the Chief Justice is very serious on the issue of protecting the environment.

Adding to this, he said that in Sabah and Sarawak, the judicial officers have been working closely with relevant agencies that deal with the protection of the environment.

“We need to create public awareness on the importance of protecting the environment and this includes wildlife and marine animals,” he explained.

Richard added that the core mission of the Judiciary was to serve the public in the best way they can.

Professionalism, he said, is understood to be at the heart of being an ethical judge and an ethical lawyer and the basis upon which the court upholds public confidence in the justice system.

He added that justice is not served after a sentence is imposed on the guilty, especially young offenders who have fallen into crime due to the force of circumstance.

Hence, he said, they should be helped and a program should be set up to monitor whether their rehabilitations are beneficial to them, as there were lawyers in Sabah and Sarawak who have agreed to do follow-ups with their young clients.

Richard also stated that judges are entitled to expect that counsel will treat the court and each other with fairness, courtesy and candour.

“It is time therefore that the Bench brings pressure to bear on any infractions made by members of the bar,” he said in regards to the fact that the Bench has been tolerant of the somewhat declining standards and profesionalism of a small number of members in the profession.

Adding to this, he stated that it is essential that the judiciary is defended as judicial ethics constrained the ability of the Judiciary to respond.