KOTA KINABALU: Chief Judge for Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum urged lawyers not to overcharge their clients, especially those from the indigenous communities, pointing out these court officials are already benefitting from the costs and damages awarded by the courts.
Speaking at the opening of the Legal Year in Sandakan by Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria yesterday, Malanjum said there is an increasing number of self-representing litigants in the courts, a situation which he described as “troubling”.
“I think it is not so much the scarcity of lawyers. Rather it is the prohibitive costs when lawyers are involved,” Malanjum was quoted as saying in The Star.
“The Rule of Law must not only be said, it must be carried out and respected. Justice is not the domain of the rich and powerful.”
He said after the lawyers take their cut from the costs and damages awarded by the courts, the clients are left with hardly anything.
Malanjum was quoted by The Star as saying that lawyers should think about helping the less fortunate who deserve legal assistance.
“Some of their matters are in the nature of public interest litigation related to the environment and the right to life or livelihood,” he said.
Touching on another matter, Malanjum said that buses were now being used as courtrooms in remote locations to enable rural folk who do not have identification documents to take oaths and apply for birth certificates. -Mkini