The strict enforcement of criminal law has made Brunei Darussalam one of the safest countries in the world. However, the judiciary should be aware of justice in the administration of criminal justice. The Honourable Dato Paduka Steven Chong Wan Oon, the Chief Justice outlined the matters at 'The Opening of the Legal Year 2019' at the Supreme Court in Bandar Seri Begawan, yesterday morning. The Honourable added that the Judiciary will undertake reforms to enhance the quality of the justice delivery system. He said timeliness will be the court's priority and that efficiency must become the norm in the administration of the courts.

The Opening of Legal Year began with the Chief Justice inspecting a guard of honour mounted by personnel of the Royal Brunei Police Force.

Touching on reforms in justice, the Chief Justice said a target has been set for the delivery of judgements by Judges, Magistrates and Registrars of one month in general and not exceeding 3 months in complex cases after the closing of submissions.

The Chief Justice also touched on various initiatives implemented by the Judiciary including Mediation. The Honourable said mediation as a non-confrontational and more harmonious way of resolving disputes continues to be offered as an alternative dispute mechanism by the courts.

The Chief Justice also announced that the Judiciary has embarked on a project to produce a Bench Book containing guideline cases on a range of offences to provide assistance to Judges and Magistrates in discharging their sentencing function.

The Honourable also commended the Law Society for its effort in expanding pro bono services to enhance access to justice. The Honourable encourage all members of the Bar to volunteer their services and to use their training to serve the disadvantaged and vulnerable members for the public interest. The Opening of the Legal Year 2019 was also attended by Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Bakti Diraja Dato Laila Utama Haji Awang Isa bin Pehin Datu Perdana Manteri Dato Laila Utama Haji Awang Ibrahim, the Special Adviser to His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and Minister at the Prime Minister's Office; Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud, Minister at the Prime Minister's Office; and Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Awang Haji Salim bin Haji Besar, Chief Syarie Judge. The Opening of the Legal Year is an annual gathering that brings together all members of Brunei Darussalam's legal community.

Source: Radio Television Brunei