Notes of Meeting between the KL Bar Criminal Practice and the Managing Judge of the KL Criminal High Courts on 18 July 2014
Issues raised by the KL Bar:
1. Assigned Counsel for Capital Offense Cases
CPC informed the Court that some lawyers complained that they have not been assigned for capital cases for a long while. CPC seek clarification on how the Court’s procedures in assigning the counsel.
The KL Court replied that Counsel will be appointed on a rotation basis (and recorded in a log book) in accordance with the list provided from the Bar Council. To date the KL Courts have 36 counsel names in the list.
In brief the procedure to assigning the counsel:
- Court will call the counsel in the list
- If he refused the case; they will call another counsel in the list.
- Only few instances that a counsel was appointed by the Judge
- Counsel cannot take more than 1 file in 5 months time.
CPC shared that the updated list from BC updated till February 2014. And will remind BC CPC to send the updated list to the Judiciary as soon as possible.
The KL Court raised that there were some instances where the Judges felt that the Counsel assigned was under performed.
CPC agreed that if that is so then the Counsels’ eligibility as Assigned Counsel should be reviewed.
2. Court’s Interpreter
CPC informed the Court Officers that there were times during a criminal trials that the interpreter did not translate the witness statement in verbatim but just give a simple summarised version of the statement.
Two (2) CPC members personally was in the hearing/trial and understand the dialect/language.
The Court Officers informed that the Interpreters undergo trainings before and throughout their posting as Interpreters.
The Court Officers agreed that Lawyers should complained when Interpreter do not do the translation properly. The Courts then may view the CRT to determine and make a decision.
3. Working Committee on Pre-trial Case Management
The Court Officers urged lawyers to agree with the Pre-Trial Case Management in accordance with the new provisions under the Criminal Procedure Code.
CPC agreed that some lawyers are reluctant to accept the new procedure.
Both parties agreed to form a working committee to promote the procedure.
Issues raised by the KL Courts:
- Lawyers too engrossed with their phones
The Courts officers noticed that nowadays the lawyers are too engrossed with their phones during the hearing and not paying proper attention.
The Court Officers noted that some lawyers came late. If lawyers have other matters in the other Courts, they should inform that they do and will be late.
- Lawyers on Record
The Courts informed that some lawyers did not show up in Court because the client didn’t pay them. They should discharge themselves and informed the Court rather than let the Court set a date for hearing.
- Identity of Lawyers in Court
The Court Officers informed that there were instances that a male lawyer dressed as a female and introduce himself as with a female name.
- KL Bar ID Card
The Courts suggested if it is possible for the KL Bar to issue an ID Card for the KL Bar members. This to help identify the lawyer and to avoid misrepresentation.
The Court Officers informed that there are no lawyers on duty at the Putrajaya Courts. LAC/YBGK to give flyers (pink) to the KL Courts Director for distribution to all criminal Courts
The Courts suggested that a list be put in the Court lobby to enable members of the public to search for Lawyers information (similar to Singapore Courts)
CPC cautioned that it may infringed with the Publicity Law.