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Monday, January 13, 2020

Ex-judge calls for caution on move to limit appeals

The judiciary has said it is considering curtailing certain types of appeals in civil cases.
PETALING JAYA: A retired judge has called for caution on the part of the judiciary in moving to place a limit on certain types of appeals to the Court of Appeal.
Gopal Sri Ram suggested that the parties to a case be allowed to go to the Court of Appeal on condition they first obtain leave of the High Court before the merits of the appeal itself were heard.
“This can be a sort of check and balance by the three member appellate court to review the decision of a single High Court judge,” he said.
Otherwise, grave injustice could be visited upon litigants if High Court judges proceeded to hear the substantive merits of cases after dismissing provisional matters.
“There could be frivolous suits filed and this will clog the courts,” he told FMT in response to plans revealed by Chief Justice Tengku Mainun Tuan Mat last week that the judiciary was seeking to substantially limit civil appeals in interlocutory cases.
Tengku Maimun said the proposal to limit appeals was to avoid delays in the full trial of the action.
She said the proposal has been approved at the Rules Committee stage and it only remained to be formalised.
Sri Ram, who was once a member of the Rules Committee, said there were many inexperienced judges in the High Court whose handling of civil cases was suspect.
“Some of the judicial commissioners (probationary judges) do not know the difference between a writ and rut,” he added.
A lawyer, R Kengadharan, said the bench should also consider removing a requirement for the High Court to grant judicial reviews of the decision-making process of public authorities.
He said the current procedure for obtaining leave of the High Court was time-consuming as reviews were filed both for public and private interests.
“Let the High Court hear the merits of complaints whether to allow or dismiss them. Parties can then appeal to the Court of Appeal,” he said. - FMT

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