Meeting with the Managing Judges of the Kuala Lumpur Civil, Commercial and Appellate & Special Powers Courts on 14 August 2015
Dear Members of the Kuala Lumpur Bar,
We are pleased to inform that we have raised several complaints/issues with the Managing Judges at the above meeting and we hereby report on the outcome:
1. Written Simultaneous Submissions – Some members have asked that Written Submissions be filed consecutively instead of simultaneously.
The Managing Judges are of the view that Simultaneous Submissions allow for a faster disposal of matters compared to Consecutive Submissions. However, all Judges retain the discretion to direct for Consecutive Submissions to be filed. Thus, members may indicate their preference to the Judge.
2. Witness Statements – Witness Statements should not be directed for subpoenaed witnesses.
The Managing Judges were of the view that since not all subpoenaed witnesses would be hostile or uncooperative (such as Civil Servants, etc), if members are directed to file Witness Statements for subpoenaed witnesses, and if this is not possible, members are to inform the Judge. The Managing Judges did not wish to issue a blanket ban of Witness Statements for subpoenaed witnesses.
The Managing Judges shared that there have been instances where members have subpoenaed their own witnesses solely for the strategic benefit of not filing in Witness Statements.
Members are encouraged to inform us if after having declined with reason to file a Witness Statement for a subpoenaed witness, members are still directed to do so.
3. Notes Of Evidence & Grounds – Some members have informed us that Registrars are refusing to fix Hearing dates for interlocutory Appeals unless the Record Of Appeal contains the Notes and Grounds.
The Managing Judges acknowledged that there was no such formal requirement for the Record Of Appeal to contain the Notes and Grounds. However, the Managing Judges pointed out that it would be beneficial for the Judge hearing the Appeal to be able to peruse the Notes and Grounds.
Generally the Hearing dates for Interlocutory Appeals would be fixed by the second Case Management date. However, it is at the discretion of the Judges whether or not to proceed with or without the Notes and Grounds.
4. Fixing Of Dates For Trials/Hearings – The Subordinate Court Judges do not take into account lawyers’ free dates when fixing matters for Trial/Hearing.
The Managing Judges urged members to refer to the Circular ‘Arahan Amalan HBM Bil. 2 Tahun 2011’ dated 7 April 2011, titled ‘Arahan Berkaitan Prosiding Mahkamah‘ . The Circular, generally, was about directions of procedures of the Courts i.e. Courts’ time, fixing hearing dates, calling for witnesses, etc.
Click here for a copy of the Circular.
5. Staggered Scheduling – Members have complained regarding the long waiting times for their respective matters to be called.
The Managing Judges were receptive to the suggestion of staggered scheduling and agreed to implement it in due course.
6. Registrars – Members have complained that Registrars do not call matters at 9:00 am. Some Registrars only start calling matters at 9:30 am.
The Managing Judges have agreed that, going forward, all matters before the Registrars will be fixed for 9:30 am except for Construction Court which will start at 10:00 am (or later upon the commencement of staggered scheduling).
Members will be notified once the same is implemented.
7. Delay In Extraction – Members have complained about the length of time taken to extract Orders/cause papers in certain Courts.
The Managing Judges informed us that they have acted upon this complaint. Generally Orders/cause papers should be ready for extraction between 3 to 4 working days.
Members who continue to experience delays are encouraged to inform us.
8. Oral Submissions – Some members have suggested that Written Submissions be done away with for straightforward Applications.
The Managing Judges are of the view that they do not wish to issue a blanket directive. They wish for Judges to retain discretion in this matter. However, members are encouraged to provide skeletal submissions.
9. Subordinate Court Mentions – Members have complained that the Mentions are being conducted in a chaotic setting. The kiosk system is not being utilised with the court clerks/interpreters raising their voice to call out matters.
It was confirmed that the kiosk system was not being utilised. However, this was because of feedback received from several law firms who had many (bulk) matters fixed in a day and claimed that using the kiosk system was cumbersome and time consuming.
Everyone present agreed that this issue required further discussion and a solution to satisfy all. We will keep members updated.
10. Written Closing Submissions – This was a complaint regarding a specific Judge who directed for Written Closing Submissions to be filed the very next day after Trial.
The complaint has been dealt with. Generally, the Managing Judges indicated that Judges are to give adequate time for the preparation of the Notes Of Evidence. If this is not done, members are encouraged to inform us as soon as possible.
11. Problems pertaining to E-Filing System
The Managing Judges will raise the problems with the e-court division.
Matters raised by the Managing Judges:
A. Judges are experiencing difficulty in conducting Case Managements effectively because some of the lawyers who appear for the Case Managements are not knowledgeable regarding the file/matter and are unable to answer the Judge’s queries, thus necessitating a further Case Management or inaccurate information being supplied to the Judge.
Members are reminded that anyone mentioning on behalf of a member or a pupil who attends the said case management must have knowledge of the subject matter of the said matter and be able to respond to queries of the registrar/judge.
B. Lawyers on opposing sides are not cooperating with each other. This is reflective in several ways such as:
- letters of complaints being written by a lawyer regarding the opposing counsel; and
- documents which can be placed in Part B in the Common Bundle are being placed in Part C for no good reason.
C. There are two Construction Courts, one in the Kuala Lumpur Court and the other in the Shah Alam Court. There appears to be a tendency for members to file matters in Kuala Lumpur only. Members are requested to file their construction matters in the appropriate jurisdiction.
D. There are some members who demand for extraction of their filed documents, without a Certificate Of Urgency, within 24 hours or less. Members are reminded that if anything requires urgent processing, to please file a Certificate Of Urgency.
Harleen Kaur (Leena)
KLBC Civil Practice Committee