Appeal against refusal of Zainur case watching brief


December 8, 1998

The Bar Council has filed notices of appeal to the Court of Appeal against the refusal of the High court recently to grant it watching brief status in respect of lawyers facing contempt charges. The Bar Council was denied watching brief status in the contempt case against Encik Zainur Zakaria at the High Court and also in the case of Mr. Tommy Thomas. Similarly the Bar Council was dissallowed to hold a watching brief in the application by YB Encik Karpal Singh to set aside the subpoena served on him in the Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim trial.

The Bar Council notes that in the past it had not faced any difficulty to represent the profession and hold a watching brief in respect of cases involving lawyers.

The Bar Council has always claimed a statutory basis to hold a watching brief under both Sections 42(1)(e) of the Legal Profession Act 1976 and Section 57(e). Under Section 42(1)(e) the Bar Council is enjoined ‘to represent, protect and assist members of the legal profession’. By Section 57(e) the Bar Council in mandated ‘to represent members of the Malaysian Bar…in any matter which may be necessary or expedient’.

The above provisions authorises the Bar Council to perform an important function for and on behalf of the members and to generally defend the interests of the profession.

The Bar Council proposes therefore to pursue the above appeals and vindicate its rights to fully represent its members.

Dated : 8 December 1998

Dato' Dr. Cyrus Das, President, Malaysian Bar

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