As part of Brunei Judiciary's commitment to the harmonization of laws across ASEAN Member states, the Courts have recognized the need for effective dispute resolution mechanisms as a vital component in the ASEAN economic community and this includes Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Yang Amat Arif Dato Seri Paduka Haji Kifrawi Bin Dato Paduka Haji Kifli stressed the importance of ADR and its potential as a means of saving time and resources and listed its many benefits as an alternatives to traditional litigation.

In support of this, seven judicial officers have been certified as Accredited Mediators by the Singapore Mediation Centre. The Chief Justice made the remarks during the Opening of the Legal Year 2018 at the High Court Building in the capital, yesterday morning. The Chief Justice in his speech also spoke on the involvement of the Judiciary in the Ease of Doing Business Report 2018 in identifying areas requiring reform efforts and improved regulation within The Judiciary to advance Brunei's distance to frontier (DTF) score.

The Chief Justice also touched on the recent re-introduction of the Legal Clinic by the Law Society which offers free legal advice to the underserved and disadvantaged for which he expressed his full support. According to Yang Amat Arif, the clinic will operate from the Small Claims Tribunal room in the Magistrates Court once a month. He added that the initiatives taken by the Law Society must be lauded as it strengthens access to justice, seeing that one of the major obstacles in accessing justice is the cost of legal advice and representation. Legal clinic programmes are therefore important, as a central component of strategies to enhance access to justice all over the world.

Meanwhile, Yang Berhormat Datin Seri Paduka Hajah Hayati binti Pehin Orang Kaya Shahbandar Dato Seri Paduka Haji Mohamad Salleh, the Attorney General, in her speech, reminded officers of Attorney General's Chambers to adapt to a changing world by deepening their skills but must always remain to be guided by principle, integrity and humility.

The Opening of Legal Year is an annual gathering that brings together Brunei Darussalam's judiciary, the legal fraternity and members of the Bar. The Opening of Legal Year was attended by Honourable Justices and Judges of the Civil and Syariah Courts, State Dignitaries, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, Senior Government Officials, Members of Judiciary from the Civil and Syariah Courts, members of the legal profession and members of various government enforcement agencies.

Source: Radio Television Brunei