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‘Prepare draft of judgment from first day of hearing’

 | March 30, 2017

Retired chief justice Zaki Azmi offers tips to judges on writing judgments and warns them against procrastinating.

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PUTRAJAYA: Former chief justice Zaki Azmi, who had a penchant to closely monitor his judges to ensure they provided written grounds on time, today offered an insight into preparing judgments.

He said lower court judges and judicial commissioners should be working on the draft from the day they started hearing cases.

“Start writing the moment you end your first day of hearing, at least by noting down the important points.”

He said this in his speech at the launch of a book titled “A Matter of Justice — Selected Articles and Speeches by Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria” here today.

He said once the hearing was over, they could start compiling the grounds.

“As a magistrate and Sessions Court judge, I would start writing my judgment the moment I receive the notice of appeal, which is 14 days after the decision.” said Zaki, who started his legal career in 1969.

He said in his notes of evidence, he would briefly write down the reason for coming to his decision.

“Never procrastinate, because if it is too long, you will have to start reading your notes (of evidence) all over again.”

He said no matter how difficult the judgment, one must start writing.

“You will find that as you write, it becomes easier,” he said, adding that judgments should be short and direct to the point.

Written grounds are very important as no criminal and civil appeals could be heard if the trial judge failed to provide judgments.

Zaki, who left for private practice in 1983, was appointed straight as Federal Court judge in 2007 and later as chief justice for 11 months until retirement in September 2011.

At the same event, the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) held a farewell lunch for Arifin, who will retire tomorrow.

As chief justice, Arifin is also the JAC chairman.


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