Covid-19: Malaysian Courts Recommence Physical Hearings *Update No. 4*
13 May 2020
Following our e-alert issued on 27 April 2020, the Government of Malaysia recently lifted the Movement Control Order (‘MCO’) and replaced it with the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) with effect from 4 May 2020 to 9 June 2020.
With the easing of the restrictions under the MCO, steps are being taken to revive the economy which had nearly ground to halt during the MCO. Steps are also being taken to recommence hearing of cases in the Malaysian Courts.
Beginning 13 May 2020, cases set for an open court hearing will resume in stages.
While the judiciary remains committed to ensure continuous access to justice to all members of the public, it must also ensure the safety of the public. Hence, the judiciary has implemented several restrictive health and safety measures by introducing standard operating procedures and guidelines to ensure public health and safety of judicial officers, court staff and individuals attending Court. To this end, the Office of the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court of Malaysia has issued the following guidelines:
- ‘Guidelines of Court Operations During the Conditional Movement Control Order Period and Post-Movement Control Order’ dated 8 May 2020;
- ‘The Judiciary’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) During The Covid-19 Pandemic’ dated 11 May 2020; and
- ‘Court Operations Beginning 13 May 2020’ dated 11 May 2020,
General Measures within Court Premises
In effort to contain the spread of Covid-19, the measures that have been implemented by the judiciary via the SOPs include:
- Requiring individuals attending court to download and complete the Court Visitor Form from the Judiciary's official website for social tracing purposes. The Visitor Forms are also available at the Court premises. Any person who does not submit a Visitor Form will be barred from entering the Court premises.
- Allowing only two lawyers and one representative for each party to be present in the Court during the hearing of the case.
- Making it mandatory for the public to wear a face mask at all times within the court premises. The court will not provide face masks to persons attending court.
- Conducting a body temperature check on every individual seeking to enter the court premises; only individuals with a body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius and below will be allowed to enter the court premises. Parties and the public are advised not to attend court if they are unwell.
- Having only one point of entry for every courthouse in Malaysia. Only those who have business with the court will be allowed to enter the premises.
- Allowing witnesses or parties to a proceeding to enter the court premises 30 minutes before the hearing of their case begins.
- Hearing of cases will be conducted on a staggered basis which means that only counsel and parties related to the case will be allowed in the courtroom.
- Maintaining social distancing at all times in the court premises, including in the courts, lifts, canteen and registration and payment counters.
Notwithstanding the re-commencement of physical hearings, online hearing of cases is encouraged and case management for all Courts equipped with e-Kehakiman System will be conducted online.
Further information on the judiciary's SOP is also available on its official website at www.kehakiman.gov.my.
This Alert is prepared by Karen Tan Wee Sean (Associate) of Skrine.
‘Court Operations Beginning 13 May 2020’
dated 11 May 2020