Thursday, June 1, 2017

Malaysian Judges Are Far From Great

Now that I'm out of practice, I actually have more time and reason to read up on cases from all around the world.

Which reminds me of the sickening truth that has sickened me ever since law school.

That Malaysian judges write really poor judgments.

Their writings put me to sleep. They're written without much thought and effort.

I can't pull myself to read past the first few paragraphs. It's a torture to my brain cells.

Foreign judgments from US, UK, Australia and even our good neighbours Singapore, in contrast, are a joy to read. Their words sing and dance. They're informative and insightful. They serve justice. They instil judicial confidence. They make my brain cells leap in joy and hope.

Brain dead

Where Is The Love (For The Law), Yo?

Why are our judges are so bad?

Here are a few reasons why:

They just don't know the law very well. Their minds can't grasp complicated but fundamental concepts.

They can't think for themselves. And even if they can, they can't articulate what they think very well.

They don't do a good job at what they do. More sadly, they don't seem to enjoy what they do.

Yes, the saddest part is that they lack passion. And without passion, they won't rise beyond mediocrity.

It's rather baffling, isn't it?

Don't our judges take pride and joy in writing good judgments? Don't they know they have the power to create and shape the law of the land? Don't they realise these powers need to be exercised responsibly?

Maybe they do, but they don't care. All they care is clearing up backlog of cases, and making the bosses (whoever they may be) at the top happy.

How Malaysian judges and lawyers spend their holidays

I Can Be Judge

Most Malaysian judges are no smarter than a fresh law graduate. I kid you not. I can prove it.

In my first ever trial, I wrote most of the written submission (my boss trusted me that much, great guy). It was a patent case, which was rather new to me. It was before the High Court of the Intellectual Property Division, so the judge presumably must be an expert on this type of stuff.

Anyway, long story short, we won the case. And the judge literally copy-pasted our written submission into his judgment.

The case's reported in the law journals. Ironically though, my name's not in the list of counsels. You know why?

Because I was only a pupil then.

Minority Report

I know, in my rant, I tend to get hyperbolic. There are good judges out there, who write good judgments. I've seen them. I know who they are.

But they are the exception, rather than the rule. The rare 5% minority of excellence.

And for some reason, they tend to get stuck in the High Court.

Well, that's Malaysia for you.

To Judge Or Not To Judge

For those who know me well, this is nothing new. I rant about lawyers and judges all the time.

After my rant, they'll often ask me if I would ever consider being a judge myself. You know, subtly throwing the ball back at me with the whole "Eh, if you think so great, why not..." trick.

In Malaysia? Of course not! That would be selling my stock short. My brain cells would start a revolt.

In the International Court of Justice? Well, now we're talking...

Lord Kok of Ipoh

So yes, on principle, I would consider becoming a judge. The kind of badass "don't give a f**k" judge who dissents half the time, and openly throw scorn at my fellow judges in my many dissenting judgments.

That's the kind of judges the top civilised nations always have.

That's the kind of judges Malaysia sadly lacks and urgently needs.

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