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Promoting better outcomes in dispute resolutions

Fadley Faisal

The Brunei Darussalam Supreme Court and the Hong Kong Department of Justice (DOJ) signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) to strengthen collaboration on issues relating to dispute avoidance and resolution.

Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong signed for the Brunei Supreme Court while the Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Paul Lam signed on behalf of the Hong Kong DOJ.

In his remarks, the chief justice described the memorandum as a ‘significant milestone’ between the Sultanate and Hong Kong.

He said that the MoC will ‘serve as a key pillar for cooperation’ and affords ‘an excellent platform to strengthen communication’ and ‘facilitate mutual learning and promote collaborative initiatives’.

The Chief Justice added that the MOC serves as a framework of enhanced cooperation which will greatly benefit both Brunei Darussalam and Hong Kong in promoting better outcomes in the resolution of disputes, greater confidence in doing business, and enhancing access to justice.

ABOVE & BELOW: Chief Justice Steven Chong and Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Paul Lam sign the agreement; and the chief justice hands over a souvenir. PHOTOS: BRUNEI DARUSSALAM SUPREME COURT

This is the second MoC signed between the Brunei Supreme Court and other jurisdictions, following the signing of a MOC with the Supreme People’s Court of China on September 21, 2004.

During his visit to Hong Kong from May 4 to 7, Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong called on Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong Andrew Cheung and also met Chief Judge of the High Court of Hong Kong Justice Poon.

The bilateral meetings included visits to the Court of Final Appeal, the High Court and West Kowloon Law Courts where the chief justice and his delegation held discussions on areas including case management, court administration, judicial education and training, the use of mediation and developments on the use of technology in court.

The chief justice and his delegation also visited dispute resolution bodies in Hong Kong, including the AALCO Hong Kong Regional Arbitration Centre, the eBRAM International Online Dispute Resolution Centre and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre.

Hong Kong has been a part of Brunei Darussalam’s legal heritage for over 60 years where in 1963 arrangements were made with the Hong Kong Government for Judges of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong to sit as Judges of the Brunei Supreme Court.

It was also then the practice for the Chief Justice of Hong Kong to be appointed as the Chief Justice of Brunei Darussalam or appointed as President of the Court of Appeal began, although the long-standing judicial arrangement officially ended in 1993.

However Brunei Darussalam continues to rely on the services of retired Hong Kong judges to fill appointments in its judiciary.

“The Supreme Court looks forward to seeing the relationship with Hong Kong grow from strength to strength in the years to come and hopes to work closely together in furtherance of the MoC to serve the common interest of both Brunei and Hong Kong,” said the chief justice.

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