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THE 3RD CHINA-ASEAN JUSTICE FORUM (VIRTUAL FORUM)

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The Honourable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Brunei Darussalam, Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong attended the 3rd China-ASEAN Justice Forum on Wednesday 20 July 2022. The virtual forum was hosted by the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China (‘the SPC’). Through the forum, the SPC wished to enhance judicial exchanges, build harmonious economic, trade and investment ties and form pragmatic and effective judicial cooperation between China and ASEAN countries. The ASEAN Chief Justices and the Secretary General of ASEAN were invited to have an in-depth discussion with the Chief Justice and Justices from the SPC on the theme of ‘Establishing a High-Level Judicial Cooperation Platform to Jointly Build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road”.

In his opening remarks during the forum’s opening ceremony, Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong highlighted the forum as “an important platform for China-ASEAN cooperation” in providing “an excellent setting for China and ASEAN judiciaries to share their experiences and enhance judicial networks.” The Chief Justice added that “in offering each other much needed support through such trying times, it is hoped that through our judiciaries’ joint efforts and constructive dialogues, we are able to support China-ASEAN trade, investment and economic recovery.”

The forum discussed three topics, namely the acceleration of the adaption of the new Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) economic and trade rules, the enhancement of intellectual property rights and cross border online litigation. The Chief Justice said that “bringing together such themes is fitting when discussing how our judiciaries can work together and help promote the region’s trade and development post-COVID-19.” 

Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong then gave a speech on the ‘promotion of crossborder online litigation to provide judicial assistance for pandemic prevention, control and economic recovery’ and spoke on Brunei Darussalam’s experiences in promoting online litigation and what steps were taken to continue the court’s work to deliver justice and keep up with cases while reducing the risk of infection amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chief Justice said that the courts “continue to conduct as many court proceedings as possible remotely in order to facilitate the efficient and expeditious processing of cases and support the efforts in the economic recovery post-COVID-19.” 

The Chief Justice emphasized the role of technology and the use of online video conferencing platforms such as Zoom in enabling the Judiciary to “connect court users and stakeholders in order to make justice more accessible.” He informed that there was a steady rise in the number of cases conducted online “from 91 cases heard online in August 2021 to 351 cases by December 2021” and added that “despite Brunei Darussalam entering the early endemic phase of its response to COVID-19 at the end of 2021, court proceedings have remained online with a total of 1,364 out of 3,329 hearings from January to May 2022, making up 41% of total hearings conducted virtually.” It was highlighted that in February 2022, “the High Court had a judge from its international panel presiding from Australia via Zoom conducting both civil and commercial proceedings. Counsel and parties attended these proceedings remotely in Brunei Darussalam and from various locations abroad, such as Canada, India, Malaysia and Singapore.”

Also present at the forum were the Honourable Judicial Commissioner and Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Justice Haji Abdullah Soefri bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, the Honourable Judicial Commissioner, Muhammed Faisal bin Pehin Datu Juragan Laila Diraja Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Kefli together with judges and judicial officers from the Judiciary.

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SUPREME COURT OF BRUNEI DARUSSALAM


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Created at 20/07/2022 09:54 PM by Mohamad Jazmi bin Hj Mohamad Kamel
Last modified at 20/07/2022 09:55 PM by Mohamad Jazmi bin Hj Mohamad Kamel