Friday, October 10, 2008
BookIntro6: JUDGING THE JUDGES
The author of this book, Dato’ NH Chan was formerly a Court of Appeal Judge. I remember telling my colleagues that every time I appear before him when he was sitting in the High Court; I felt that I was before an English Judge. His demeanor, his English and the way he carried himself on the bench was like an English gentleman Judge. I personally found it a pleasure to appear before him for he was patient, allowed time for questioning the witness and if I am not wrong, his was then the only High Court where you can get instantaneous notes of proceeding because there was a stenographer sitting while the trial is being conducted! So there is minimal room for inconsistencies between the Court’s recording and the lawyers’ recording of what transpired. (I think this should be implemented again in the Courts. Even though it may slow down the proceeding, but justice hastened may lead to justice denied or flawed).
Hence when this gentleman “English” Judge wrote a book I had to read it. I was not disappointed at all because it was written boldly and honestly. He writes that the most important qualification to be a judge is impartiality and the appearance of impartiality. I think the second point is often missed by a few Judges because I suppose as NH Chan points out in his book, Judges are, after all humans. The main aims of the book, among other things is to enable the reader to recognize the many cases in the Malaysian courts in which justice had not been seen to be done, to familiarize the ordinary man of the judge’s craft so that he knows whether a judge has been fair and unbiased in his conduct of the trial and to help the reader differentiate between the good and the bad judges (as written on the back of the book).
I like his style of writing. It is simple and yet does not sacrifice the language. I would rate this book as a must read book by citizens who are interested in the administration of justice, especially the students of law, lawyers and in particular, the judges themselves.
The book is available in major bookshops or you may contact Alpha Sigma Sdn Bhd (Tel: 03-78041672; Fax: 03-78041673). It was first published recently in 2007