CJ moots time limit for oral submissions to speed up appeals

Chief Justice Richard Malanjum says lengthy submissions were irrelevant.

PUTRAJAYA: Chief Justice Richard Malanjum has proposed that lawyers be given 20 minutes to make oral submissions before the Court of Appeal and Federal Court judges to expedite appeal hearings.

He said the suggestion could be made into a procedure in court once it gets approval from the Attorney-General’s Chambers and Bar associations.

“A shorter submission period will enable lawyers to raise the more important points for the attention of judges,” he said in his speech after attending a ceremony to announce the appointment of nine judges for the Federal Court and Court of Appeal.

Malanjum said the practice of limiting oral submisions was common in the United Kingdom and the US.

He said in the US, the “red” light would emerge and the microphone switched off to signal the time for submissions was over.

He said lawyers must get the attention of judges in the first five minutes and convince them with submissions for or against an appeal.

The top judge said lengthy submissions were irrelevant.

“Don’t save the best point for the last but advance it first before the judges,” he said.

Malanjum also advised judges that they should patiently hear submissions without interrupting the counsel.

“We are paid to listen, and don’t cut them off,” he said, adding that lawyers would be happy as they were given the right to be heard even if they lost their cases.

Malanjum said judges should refrain from making unnecessary comments as it would send a wrong signal to the public.

He urged Federal Court judges to write their grounds in English, especially for commercial cases, so that they can be referred to in other Commonwealth jurisdictions.

“Well and good if it is written in Bahasa Malaysia but get it translated in English,” he added.

Malanjum also urged Court of Appeal judges to write grounds if important legal points were raised during appeals from cases that originated from the magistrate’s or sessions court.

At the event today, Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Idrus Harun and Nallini Pathmanathan were promoted as Federal Court judges.

Meanwhile, Lau Bee Lan, Mohamed Zabidin Mohd Diah, Yew Jen Kie, Nor Bee Ariffin and Has Zanah Mehat were promoted as Court of Appeal judges.