Syariah Courts hold annual gathering

|     Lyna Mohamad     |

THE Syariah Courts of the State Judiciary Department, Prime Minister’s Office held the 4th Annual Assembly for 1440H/2019 yesterday at the multipurpose hall of the Syariah Subordinate and High Courts building.

Chief Syar’ie Judge Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Utama Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Salim bin Haji Besar, officiated the meeting as the guest of honour.

The ceremony was initiated with recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa delivered by Assistant Registrar of Syariah Subordinate Court Azmil bin Haji Haris, followed by a slide presentation of the Syariah Courts’ activities for 2018.

In his welcoming remarks, Acting Chief Registrar Haji Ali-Bolkiah bin Haji Muhammad Diah noted that one of the services provided by the Syariah Courts was the implementation of the Sulh process for cases from May 1, 2018.

Three permanent Sulh officers were assigned in the Brunei-Muara District and two each in the other remaining three districts to implement this process, Haji Ali-Bolkiah said.

Acting Chief Registrar Haji Ali-Bolkiah bin Haji Muhammad Diah leads the oath reading. – LYNA MOHAMAD

To date, cases that can be settled through this process are those involving child custody, wife and child maintenance fee, and other Syariah claims filed together and intended to be heard in one proceeding.

Since implementation of the Sulh process, from May to December 2018, records show that in the Brunei-Muara District, out of the 55 cases registered, 31 cases were successfully resolved, two cases were unresolved in Tutong District, all nine cases in the Belait District were resolved, and no Sulh procedures were registered in the Temburong District.

The Acting Chief Registrar highlighted that as a measure to upgrade the knowledge and skills of Syariah Courts officers, particularly officers involved in the Sulh process, an in-house training workshop on Mediation Skills will be conducted this coming April.

The Sulh officers’ knowledge and skills are also enriched from time to time through relevant skills upgrading programmes.

Haji Ali-Bolkiah added that further briefings on the implementation of the Sulh process will be carried out to ensure that its enforcement will be implemented as effectively and efficiently as possible, in line with Hukum Syarak approach that encourages this Sulh effort.

The Acting Chief Registrar also disclosed that the Syariah Courts management is currently planning for the publication of the Brunei Syariah Law Report (LUSB).

The report is meant to be a reference for Syar’ie Judges, law practitioners, academicians and higher-learning institution students, and aimed at enhancing the understanding of Syariah Courts law and Hukum Syarak from the perspective of judges’ decisions among members of the public.

Meanwhile, in efforts to upgrade services provided by the Syariah Courts, the Syariah Courts management is currently actively providing and reviewing the Court Working Procedure Manual (MPK) and the MPK for marriage registration, divorce, annulments and reconciliation for Muslims.

Haji Ali-Bolkiah noted as well that the Syariah Courts management has also produced the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Syariah Penal Code 2018 and the Moot Court. This began implementation on October 13, 2018.

After his speech, Haji Ali-Bolkiah led the officers and staff of the Syariah Courts in taking the oath, followed by an anti-corruption talk delivered by Senior Special Investigation Officer, International Division at the Anti-Corruption Bureau Haji Muhammad Hisham bin Sulaiman.

Tokens of appreciation were then presented to officers and staff of the Syariah Courts who have been transferred, while the Service Appreciation Award was handed to Syariah Courts staff who had demonstrated excellence throughout their service.