Saturday, April 20

Adapt technology and work from anywhere, Chief Justice tells lawyers


Tan Sri Richard Malanjum

PUTRAJAYA: With the tagline ‘Now Anywhere Can Work’, lawyers can now deal with their cases from anywhere through the use of technology introduced by the judiciary in order to have an efficient court system, says Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum.

He said the technology would solve many problems, including congested parking areas and heavy bags the lawyers had to carry to courts.

“We noticed the inconveniences faced by lawyers in coming to courts just to get hearing dates. We saw the congested parking areas. We sympathised for the heavy bags the lawyers had to carry to courts. We responded with the use of technology. We are on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“We must adapt to be able to compete successfully. Technology is the way to go. So, we introduce the E- review in case management. At the appellate levels, all case managements are now done online,” he said in his speech after officiating the opening of ‘Legal Year 2019’, held in a hotel here yesterday.

Malanjum said with this move, there would be no more lining up by lawyers from 9am onwards as they could do case management from the comfort of their offices or homes.

“We also noted the traffic jam on the Federal Highway between Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam and we responded. By the end of this month, video conferencing system will be made available between Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Shah Alam, and would be expanded to other areas soon,” he said.

Malanjum said also in the pipeline is the idea of a ‘Virtual Court’ and the use of hologram technology, instead of video conferencing.

He noted that during sittings in the Federal Court, judges had seen lawyers dozing off while waiting for their turns to present their cases.

To overcome this, he said the judiciary responded with the introduction of the ‘Queue Management System’ and today, lawyers could enjoy their meals in the canteen without any worry bout their turns being missed as they could see from the monitors at the canteen, or on their mobile phones, should their cases be called.

“We sometimes read the blogs and public comments on the Internet and sometimes, we do not like what we read about the courts and the judges.

“Believing in the old saying of prevention is better than cure, we have taken the pre-emptive measures. In addition to judges making their regular assets declarations, we have today provided a ‘Complaint Mechanism’ via hotlines and social media to receive public complaints and suggestions on our performance,” he said.

Malanjum also said now they have a new Judicial Officers Code of Ethics similar to the Judges Code of Ethics to ensure that judicial officers keep a high standard of behaviour on and off Bench.

He said lawyers should no longer be fearful of overlooking to file the defences or affidavits of their cases because there would be an Auto Alert system to remind them.

“Judges too can no longer plead amnesia when their pending judgements pile up. The system will alert them and keep reminding them in various colours until they have done their work. This is what we call the monitoring system.

“So far it has been technology all the way. It is not over yet. Hopefully by June this year, the Malaysian Courts will go paperless,” he said.

He added that lawyers should no longer be carrying bundles of documents to courts and all files must be in the form of virtual files within the Case Management System (CMS).

“Imagine coming to court carrying just your tablet. And imagine you are no longer tied up to your office and no monthly rental to pay but able to do your work anywhere in this world. The tagline will then be ‘Now Anywhere Can Work’.

“To sum up, the legal profession must embrace technology. There is no option. It is coming soon to the legal profession. Adapt or be dropped,” he said.

Malanjum said in order to improve public awareness on the functions of the courts and the Constitution,  the judiciary has started a programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

He said the main target are the schools and there is a good reason to teach early young minds about the Constitution and the ‘Rukun Negara’.

On the media reporting of the judgement by the courts, Malanjum said for transparency, the judiciary has engaged the media in accurate reporting and provide assistance through the Media Centre in the Palace of Justice to reporters should they encounter difficulties in understanding the decisions of the courts.

“This way, erroneous understanding by the public will be minimised. In high-profile cases, regular bulletin may be issued when the trials are ongoing. This is to minimise any error in the public understanding of the issues involved,” he added. — Bernama