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The Honourable Chief Justice Dato Paduka Steven Chong has been awarded the prestigious International
Jurists Award 2019 for his life-long unique contribution in the field of administration of justice.
The award was presented by the International Council of Jurists, an organization comprising of jurists who
work towards the promotion of the administration of justice and the vigorous advancement and expansion
of the law, expedient to the social and economic needs of the people. The Council is actively involved in
organizing campaigns for legal awareness and information to be used as a tool for the advancement and
amelioration of public good. It also intends to promote the rule of law and social justice through the provision
of free legal aid and by maintaining an efficient system of legal advice.
The award ceremony was held on Thursday 11 July 2019 at the Supreme Court of Brunei Darussalam. The
accolade was presented by the Honourable Dr. Adish C. Aggarwala, President of the International Council
of Jurists who stated in his speech that the Chief Justice’s award is “for his life-long unique contribution in
the field of administration of justice” and “in recognition of his exemplary and far-reaching contribution to
the theory and practice of law for the advancement of justice.” Dr. Aggarwala further described the Chief
Justice as “extremely hardworking, insightful and upright” and commended the significant role he has
played in “the efforts to improve the justice delivery system in the region” and in making “all possible efforts
to make the judiciary of Brunei strong and independent.”
In his speech, the Chief Justice reiterated the Judiciary’s commitment “to upholding the rule of law and
improving the quality of the justice delivery system” and reemphasized the initiatives undertaken by the
Judiciary to “establish an efficient and effective judicial system and enhancing access to justice.” The Chief
Justice went on to list the various measures implemented which include setting down timelines for the
delivery of judgments, active case management, professional development of judicial officers, the
development of Bench Books to maintain consistency in sentences, the expansion of the use of mediation to promote a non-confrontational and more harmonious way of resolving disputes and encouraging
members of the Bar to provide pro bono services.
Present at the award ceremony were Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Hairol Arni Hj Abdul Majid, Attorney
General, Yang Arif Pg Datin Paduka Hjh Rostaina Pg Hj Duraman, Justice of the High Court, Their
Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners and members of the Diplomatic Corps, Yang Mulia
Hj Mohammad Rosli Hj Ibrahim, Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, Yang Arif Hj Abdullah
Soefri POKSM DSP Hj Abidin, Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Yang Mulia Pg Izad Ryan PLKD Pg
Hj Bahrin, Vice President of the Law Society and officers and staff of the Supreme Court.
Brunei Darussalam upholds its dual legal system based on both Syariah law and Common law in
administering justice. His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, in his Titah during
the Brunei Islamic Religious Council meeting held in October 2011, stated that "these courts serve a single
purpose, to control the problems and ways to uphold justice. I believe … that the two judicial systems, Civil
and Syarak, would not pose problems if they run in parallel or concurrently.” His Majesty also added that
"In a nutshell, both Syarak and Civil Laws could run concurrently and in parallel without affecting one
another. This is the uniqueness of Brunei."
Dato Paduka Steven Chong is the first Bruneian jurist to be given the International Jurist Award. Previous
recipients of the award include Sundaresh Menon, Chief Justice of Singapore who received the award in
2013 and Chan Sek Keong, the then Chief Justice of Singapore, who received the award in 2009, amongst
other prominent international jurists.
Supreme Court of Brunei Darussalam
11 July 2019
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