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The Opening of the Legal Year 2018
​The Honourable Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Haji Kifrawi bin Dato Paduka Haji Kifli officiated the Opening of Legal Year 2018 today with the inspection of the Guard of Honour comprising of Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) personnel. After the Guard of Honour, the Honourable Chief Justice delivered his speech to mark the opening of the Legal Year. This was followed by speeches by the Attorney General, Yang Berhormat Datin Seri Paduka Hjh Hayati binti POKSDSP Hj Mohd Salleh and the President of the Law Society, On Hung Zheng.

The Opening of Legal Year is an annual gathering that brings together Brunei Darussalam’s judiciary, the legal fraternity and members of the Bar. The Honourable Chief Justice reminded the audience of their duty and commitment to uphold the rule of law and stated that:

“occasions of this kind are important because they give us time to … think about the purpose and importance of the practice and profession of the law” and that “the ceremony [brings] together all those concerned with the law in one room, providing opportunities for valuable exchanges between all members of the legal fraternity.”

In his speech, the Honourable Chief Justice also touched on Brunei Judiciary’s commitment to the harmonization of laws across ASEAN Member states. The Courts have recognized the need for effective dispute resolution mechanisms as a vital component in the ASEAN economic community and this includes Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). He stressed the importance of ADR and its potential as a means of saving time and resources and listed its many benefits as an alternative to traditional litigation. In support of this, the Honourable Chief Justice then took the opportunity to announce that a total of seven judicial officers have been certified as Accredited Mediators by the Singapore Mediation Centre.

The Honourable Chief Justice also spoke on the involvement of the Judiciary in the Ease of Doing Business Report 2018 in identifying areas requiring reform efforts and improved regulation within the Judiciary to advance Brunei’s distance to frontier (DTF) score. He stated that the annual report published recently in November 2017 by the World Bank, announced a rise in Brunei’s ranking from 72 to 56 out of 190 economies, recording the largest improvement of all economies measured by the distance to frontier (DTF) score for the second consecutive year. He added that in this report, the largest improvements identified included an improvement in the area of Enforcing Contracts, having improved 32 places, taking Brunei to a World Bank ranking of 61 as a result of Enhancements in an Online Management System through theintroduction of an Electronic Case Management System for use by judges and lawyers.

The Honourable Chief Justice also spoke on the recent re-introduction of the Legal Clinic by the Law Society which offers free legal advice to the underserved and disadvantaged for which he expressed his full support.

The Legal Clinic will operate from the Small Claims Tribunal room in the Magistrates Court once a month.

The Honourable Chief Justice gave an endorsement of this initiative taken by the Law Society and lauded their efforts in strengthening access to justice, as one of the major obstacles in accessing justice is the cost of legal advice and representation. He further emphasized that legal clinic programmes are important, as a central component of strategies to enhance access to justice all over the world. He also expressed his encouragement of the work of other non-governmental agencies who have also taken it upon themselves to organize legal clinics for the benefit of those who need such services. The Honourable Chief Justice added that this response to the needs of the community is not only supportive of access to justice but is also a reflection of a deep commitment to fostering and developing a strong sense of community across society.

The Opening of Legal Year was attended by Honourable Justices and Judges of the Civil and Syariah Courts, State Dignitaries, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, Senior Government Officials, members of the Judiciary from the Civil and Syariah Courts, members of the legal profession and members of various
government enforcement agencies.

Created at 10/02/2018 03:15 PM by Muhd Hardy Iman bin Hj Muhd Ukit
Last modified at 10/02/2018 03:19 PM by Muhd Hardy Iman bin Hj Muhd Ukit