Saturday, 9 April 2011

Bench and Bar Deals With KPI

Last week, the Bench and the Bar finally issued a joint statement resolving their differences or misunderstanding on KPI measures introduced by the Chief Justice Tun Zaki Tun Azmi to deal with backlog of cases in the courts.
What happened was that when Tun Zaki became the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, he quickly introduced Key Performance Indicators (KPI) in order to reduce backlog of cases which had become a bone of contention amongst the stakeholders. Under the KPI, judges’ performances are judged based on the number of cases disposed of per month etc. Arising from this, judges have been known to overzealously implement the KPI at the expense of justice. We read from the press how judges refused to grant adjournment despite production of medical certificates by the lawyers. To top it all, a lawyer collapsed while on duty in court.
Alarmed by this unhealthy development where justice has been sacrifice for speed, the Bar Council at its EGM recently passed a motion urging the Chief Justice to drop the KPI failing which the Bar will take certain actions in response to it. It is heartening to note that both sides had come to an agreement on this issue.
The KPI measures are actually needed to solve the longstanding issue of backlog of cases. I know for a fact that there are judges who delay their written judgments very, very badly. This delay means an appeal could not be filed in time and there is a time limit for you to file your appeal. What could you do? There are occasions when many, many reminders had to be sent to the judge to come up with the written judgment. And the KPI should be directed towards this kind of judges.
I discover one interesting thing about letters to the judges. When we write to the judge, we do not address to the judge but to his secretary, like when we write to a Sultan. So in this respect, a judge and a Sultan is on par with each other. At the end of the letter addressed to the judge’s secretary, we plead with the secretary to bring the letter to the attention of the judge. I wonder if the delay in writing the judgment is due to the secretary not forwarding the letter to the judge or due to other reasons.     
So KPI, you are needed actually.

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