The Sultanate has been conducting as many remote proceedings as possible to facilitate an efficient and expeditious method of processing cases in support of economic recovery efforts in post-pandemic times.
This was said by Brunei Darussalam Supreme Court Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong during the opening of the 3rd China-ASEAN Justice Forum, hosted by the Supreme People’s Court of China virtually on Wednesday.
The Chief Justice highlighted the role of technology, such as video conferencing platforms, in enabling the judiciary to “connect court users and stakeholders to make justice more accessible”.
He noted that there has been a steady rise in the number of cases carried out online, from 91 cases in August 2021 to 351 in December 2021.
“Despite Brunei entering the Early Endemic Phase of the pandemic at the end of 2021, 1,364 out of 3,329 hearings (41 per cent) between January and May this year were carried out virtually,” the Chief Justice said.
Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong said in February, “the High Court had a judge from its international panel presiding over civil and commercial proceedings from Australia via video conferencing.
“Counsels and other parties attended these proceedings remotely from Brunei Darussalam as well as various other locations, such as Canada, India, Malaysia and Singapore”.
On the China-ASEAN Forum, the Chief Justice sees it as an important platform for the two parties to share experiences and enhance the judicial network.
He believes that in offering each other much needed support during trying times, the two parties will be able to “support the China-ASEAN trade, investment and economic recovery” post-pandemic through joint judiciary efforts and constructive dialogues.
Themed ‘Establishing a High-Level Judicial Cooperation Platform to Jointly Build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road’, the forum revolved around topics such as the adoption of economic and trade rules for the new Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the enhancement of intellectual property rights, and online cross-border litigation.
The Brunei delegation at the forum included Judicial Commissioner and Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court Haji Abdullah Soefri bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin and Judicial Commissioner Muhammed Faisal bin Pehin Datu Juragan Laila Diraja Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Kefli.