KL Courts experience electronic touches

Not very long after a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department called for courts in Peninsular Malaysia to engage in electronic technology, Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi launched the e-court system in the new commercial courts at Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur. This is good development. Good indeed.

Zaki launches e-court system

Wednesday September 2, 2009
(c) The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The New Commercial Courts (NCC), equipped with a computerised system, will allow for electronic filing and tracking of cases, video recording and monitoring of trials and SMS text alerts for interlocutory hearings.

Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi launched the NCC at the Jalan Duta courts here yesterday electronically – where at the click of a mouse, the gong on the page on the laptop sounded.

The e-court system, the first in the peninsula, will be implemented at the High Court level first and then the lower courts.

The e-court system provided by Formis Resources Bhd comprises an integrated e-filing system, Case Management System (CMS), Queue Management System (QMS) and a Court Recording and Transcription System. It will be rolled out to 166 courts in total.

At the launch, High Court (Commercial Division) deputy registrar Hamidah Mohd Deril demonstrated how a new file, whether a soft or hard copy, would be registered in the NCC. She also showed a video recording of a court in progress yesterday as well as one taken on Aug 17.

“Using the CRT system, Tun Zaki and Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria, Chief Judge of the High Court of Malaya, can view these proceedings live from Putrajaya,” she added. “Yes, Arifin and I will be able to see which judges are working and whether lawyers are behaving themselves,” interjected Zaki.

As for interlocutory applications, Hamidah showed how a lawyer could key his case number into a kiosk hooked up to the QMS system to check on the case.

“If he has provided his mobile number, it saves waiting time; say, the lawyer has to be in a different court on another matter, he will get an SMS alert when his interlocutory application is coming up in this court.”

Also at the launch were Arifin, the two managing judges for the NCC – Federal Court Justice Datuk James Foong and Court of Appeal Justice Datuk Raus Sharif – Pemudah co-chairman Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon, Bar Council chairman Ragunath Kesavan, KL Bar chairman Anand Ponnudurai, Formis chairman Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas and its chief executive Datuk Mah Siew Kok.

At a press conference later, Zaki said that two experienced judges (Judicial Commissioners Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer and Anantham Kasinater) would handle the new cases in the NCC.

On the CRT system, he said lawyers could take a copy of the day’s video back for their own transcription. He said even criminal cases could be recorded in this manner, adding that the Teoh Beng Hock inquest was being recorded on the same system.

“With this, we hope cases can be heard three to four times faster,” he said in thanking Pemudah for helping them get the financing for the project that has cost RM69.84mil.

Asked what would happen to the commercial cases filed under the old system, Zaki said they would proceed under the old system as other countries had done, adding that there were 12 judges handling them.

On old cases that had been given hearing dates between 2012 and 2014, he said the court was trying to give earlier dates, with the help of the lawyers.

Published by Ani Munirah

Ani Munirah Mohamad is a senior lecturer at School of Law, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia. For research collaboration, she may be contacted at animunirah [at] uum.edu.my

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