UK welcomes Brunei’s assurance on Common Law

Azlan Othman

United Kingdom (UK) welcomes the assurance that Common Law remains the primary basis for law enforcement in Brunei Darussalam, said Lord Justice of Appeal and Lead Judge for International Relations at the Royal Courts of Justice in England and Wales Sir Peter Gross.

“We are gratified with positive exchanges of views on modernisation of the justice system and topics such as case management. The judiciary here also faces similar challenges just like in the UK and we are working in the same way. We greatly welcome exchanges with our colleagues here in Brunei Darussalam and look forward to it,” he told the media yesterday.

Lord Justice Gross is visiting the Sultanate at the invitation of the Chief Justice of Brunei Supreme Court Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong Wan Oon.

On matters discussed with senior legal figures in this country, Lord Justice Gross said, “We have discussed the rule of law and ways of upholding it, what judges and practitioners can do. We discussed on modernising the cases in terms of how we run the cases or case management. We also discussed on matters with a view that there is confidence in international investment community in Brunei, and we are delighted that there is such confidence in the courts of Brunei, and this is crucial in boosting investments from outside.

Lord Justice Gross further said, “We in the UK would also like to extend assistance, of sorts, on judiciary in terms of training and the like.”

Lord Justice of Appeal and Lead Judge for International Relations at the Royal Courts of Justice in England and Wales Sir Peter Gross (L) and British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Richard Lindsay. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

When asked on the development of judicial system in the Sultanate, he said, “It is built on the strength of Common Law, and that is very important for any country such as Brunei to build confidence amongst investors regarding the security of their investment.

Meanwhile, the British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Richard Lindsay said, “There is absolute agreement at all levels on the importance of upholding of the rule of law, a strong and independent judiciary, and a good and strong law enforcement system.”

Last Tuesday, Lord Justice Gross was the keynote speaker at a forum hosted by the Chief Justice of Brunei Supreme Court, which was attended by members of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s Chambers and legal professionals, including the Law Society.

Also present were Attorney General of Brunei Darussalam Dato Seri Paduka Haji Hairol Arni bin Haji Abdul Majid, Chief Syar’ie Judge Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Salim bin Haji Besar, and Permanent Secretary (Law and Welfare) at the Prime Minister’s Office Haji Mohammad Rosli bin Haji Ibrahim.

Lord Justice Gross delivered two speeches on ‘Upholding the Rule of Law: The Role of the Courts and Members of the Bar’ and ‘Upholding the Rule of Law: Modernisation of the Justice System’.

On Wednesday, Lindsay hosted an evening reception at his residence, attended by members of the Supreme Court, Attorney General’s Chambers and the legal community.

Lindsay said in a statement, “The United Kingdom and Brunei are both strong supporters of the importance of upholding and promoting the rule of law. Both countries have the Common Law as the basis of administering justice. This visit, by a senior judge from England and Wales, is an opportunity to strengthen the close ties between our judiciaries, and to learn from each other’s experiences.”