PETALING JAYA: A High Court judge has advised lawyers to behave with decorum during proceedings and observe the provisions set out in the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978.
Justice Aslam Zainuddin said it is the duty of lawyers to act fearlessly and with all the force and vigour at their disposal in the interest of the causes they represent.
However, he said, such duties must be discharged within the bounds of propriety and courtesy and as officers of the court.
“Their conduct must at all times accord with that decorum and dignity which is absolutely essential to the administration of justice,” the judge said.
Aslam’s remarks were made when upholding a decision of the sessions court in a running down case.
He said mutual respect and courtesy should always prevail and lawyers must exercise the utmost restraint and avoid overreacting, even in the most trying of circumstances.
Aslam, who heard the case in the Johor Bahru High Court, said he had to touch on this subject due to the acrimonious, waspish and petulant way in which the appeal was argued before him.
“The bad blood between counsels who conducted this appeal was palpable, patent and pronounced when this matter was heard before me,” he said in the ruling posted on the judiciary’s website earlier this week.
Aslam noted that there were uncalled for accusations made even in the trial court against the respondent’s counsel who had been in practice for 47 years. His opponent, the lawyer for the appellants, has been in the profession for 16 years.
“This is not how members of the Bar should conduct themselves,” he said, adding that counsel should observe rules 18 and 31 of the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978.
Rule 18 states lawyers are to conduct themselves in court with candour, courtesy and fairness, while Rule 31 emphasises the need to uphold the dignity and high standing of the profession.
Varinder Singh Gill represented the appellants, P Perumal and P Manoharan, while MK Nijar appeared for the respondent, Zulfahmy Musa.
Zulfahmy, the plaintiff in the sessions court, was awarded RM59,400 in general damages, physiotherapy costs of RM1,067, RM112 in special damages and costs of RM3,850.