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Monday, September 30, 2013

Consulting Bar a courtesy, not a must, says chief judge on appointment of judges

The Bar Council's feedback is not required for the elevation of judges to the Federal Court or the Court of Appeal, Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria (pic) said today.
"There is no provision under the Judicial Appointments Commission Act which requires consultation with the Bar Council prior to the appointment of judges," he said.
“We will consult them when it is necessary but there was no need this time around.
"When the Bar was consulted over the appointment of judges, it was a matter of courtesy and not a formal discussion,” he said.
This morning, seven judges were elevated in a ceremony at the Palace of Justice - three to the Federal Court and four to the Court of Appeal.
Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali, Datuk Seri Abu Samah Nordin and Datuk Ramly Ali were elevated to the apex court.
High Court judges Datuk Seri Zakaria Sam, Datuk Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim, Datuk Umi Kalthum Abdul Majib and Datuk Varghese George Varughese were sworn into the Court of Appeal.
The Malaysian Insider had reported that the appointments came against a backdrop of unhappiness because the Bar was not consulted.
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/lawyers-question-criteria-for-promoting-judges
The Bar expressed reservations as it was unsure whether the decisions had been made based on merit or seniority.
The Bar, which covers all lawyers in West Malaysia, feels it should have been consulted as it is an important stakeholder in the administration of justice in Malaysia.
In previous years, the chief justice had made it a point to do so before appointing federal and appellate court judges.
Former Bar president Lim Chee Wee, who held the post from 2011 to 2013, said the then chief justice had sought the council's feedback.

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