Monday, October 26, 2009

Nobody Is Perfect


Nobody Is Perfect.
We often get this response when someone has screwed up his or her work. It’s a gentle reminder that no one can complete something without any flaw. Then again, most of the time, it’s just an excuse.
I say it is an excuse unless and until one can actually prove that he had tried his level best, covered every possible angle to commit an error and still, a mistake occurred.
At the High Court at Kuala Lumpur, over a few hundred draft orders are filed on a daily basis. Most of the drafts are approved, processed and returned within the next few days. Some are returned because of the silly mistakes made by the lawyers like stating a different amount from the statement of claim, giving a totally different Magistrate or Judge’s name. Just to sidetrack, I think everyone would agree with me when I say that having a typo error in someone’s name can be really irritating. It is even worse when the name of the judicial officer is placed before the bench in CAPITAL LETTERS and the lawyer appeared before that particular judge could either misspelled the judges name or better yet, write a different name altogether! Come on man! Kalau dah salah tulis nama, macam mana judge tu nak approve lu punya order kan? Please do not expect the staff to correct your drafts as it is not their duty to do so. The current instruction is to return any flawed draft orders. Why burden the staff to do what the lawyers are supposed to do for their clients (and collecting fees for such work)? Not fair isn’t it?
And don’t come back to tell the Court that nobody is perfect. We don’t care whether you are perfect or not. But your draft order must be perfect before we process it.
Another thing is this. How many of the private sector lawyers know the differences between a Senior Assistant Registrar, Deputy Registrar, Senior Registrar of the Session / Magistrate Courts, Magistrate, Chief Clerk and Pembantu Tadbir Undang-undang?
I must admit that when I started service, I didn’t much about these designations. But as soon as I started working, I realized how important it is to know the hierarchy of these designations and the jurisdiction that comes with it. So I learned the duties of each designation. I doubt if you can get it in any books but asking around sure helps.
If you are told by a clerk that your file is missing, how many of you would just go back to your office and tell your client that your case was postponed because the file is missing and how many would go and ask either the SAR / DR regarding the accurate status of the file?
Most of the complaints of missing files that reaches the Palace Of Justice were not even missing. Upon investigation, it shows that the lawyer did not check with any officer and just took the word of the interpreter or clerk that the “file takda!”. They don’t even know that they should go to the Registrar / SAR / DR when there is any problem relating to the administration of their files / cases. They don’t even know what in the world is Registrar / SAR / DR what more who these individuals are! And then they have the cheek to inform their client that the court misplaced the file and it is now missing!
Sedih… tapi benar…
So my suggestion is this.
Go and learn the roles and responsibilities of Judicial Officers. You must know the right person to refer if you are in trouble. It is extremely important that you know this piece of knowledge if you want to be able to fulfill your duties to your client. If I had a lawyer, and my lawyer kept telling me that my file in court is missing, I’d be damned pissed. I’d be even more pissed if I knew that my lawyer didn’t do anything to check with the appropriate officer the actual status of my file.
It’s true that nobody is perfect. But that does not mean everyone can slack now can they?
Blog adjourned.

Reactions:

13 obiter dictum:

Sasha Lyna said...

then, what is the purpose of a draft then?just put in the fair order, then lawyers don't have to wait for the draft to be approved and the fair order to be filed, then wait for it to be extracted..

if extra-careful-measures have to be taken to have the utmost surety that the draft is perfect and staffs of the judiciary are not burdened by having to correct them and if there is mistake it will be returned until the perfect draft is put in...i say do away with the silly draft process..

defeats the whole idea of a draft dun u think?

Anonymous said...

Dear adam,

With all due respect, please take a few second to check with both sides before making stupid allegations.
I am linking your entry to others, so that we lawyers can defend ourself from being ridiculed by someone who dont even know how the game is played down here.

Farhana

Anonymous said...

well, well, well,

of course knowing you hierarchy is important as you will know whose ass is bigger to kiss. well, your reputation is so well known even your own colleague cannot contain themselves but to talk about it.

just a little reflection, always write with objectivity to avoid yourself from looking like a tin kosong who's trying to play smart.

adli

two_one said...

Sasha: the clerks would amend minor typo like spelling a judge's name YA shasya instead of YA sasha. drafts would be returned if the judge's name is instead YA Farhana.The consequential effect is dangerous. YA Farhana did't approve the draft, it was YA Sasha. so any copy and paste task must be checked thoroughly.

Farhana: ridiculed? did u know that what i wrote actually happened? maybe a small fraction makes that mistake. don't be to senstive dear. i know ur not part of those who make that mistake. :)

Adli: I have never asked for any of my post in service. that's a fact and you can ask both the previous and current Chief Registrar to confirm this. I was re-interviewed and selected for this post. and heirarchy plays no role in my current post. I was an SAR before and i saw these problems. instead of being personal, why don't you go fly kite. tin kosong... poodah!

Anonymous said...

Sasha: Your argument is wonderful ... next time you file a draft order please ask your tea lady to do it ... since it's a draft and the court will have plenty of time to perfect it.

Farhana: How many lawyers do you need to rebut Adam's statement? ...

Adli: Rebutting accusation with allegation ... Good job kiddo ... God Bless you ... and don't forget to send my regards to your master ... he must be very proud of you ...

Salih Yaacob

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

1. DRAFT ORDERS
Correct me if im wrong, I would think the rationale behind the draft process is, inter alia, to ensure that no one meddles with the court order (ensuring THE judgment stated are as per the courts' records). And instead of courts churning out the fair orders themselves, lawyers are to facilitate by preparing drafts. Perusal and approval of the drafts are thereafter done by the courts for confirmation.

2. MISSING FILES / EXTRACTION OF DOCUMENTS
Trust me, the last thing we want to hear after working like mad for files is that the file is missing from the courts' possession. How are we to be held responsible for that? As to how, and when files went missing, are we supposed to go assume the administrative role, get into the filing rooms and check?
And no, we don't simply smile upon learning the file is missing. I believe we do record our attendance and inform before whoever we are to appear of the status of the matter. We’ll given another date. At the next date, God forbid, files still cant be found by the court. So- we are told to RECONSTRUCT the file. Ask any practicing lawyer what this means or rather, entails.

We are all here to do our job. Of course there will be criticisms now and then. Please just ensure they are valid and not generalized.

two_one said...

Salih: :)
Anon:1. agreed. 2. please re-read the post. i never shifted the the responsibility for missing files to the lawyers. it's the courts responsibility. but if the staf is not helpful, where should you turn to get your job done?
trust me, the Judiciary is certainly taking positive steps in ensuring that files are not missing. they sometime get misplaced. complaint to the Registrar/SAR/DR. I'm sure they would be more than willing to help. if they don't, complaint to the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court. She will know what to do. :)

i agree with your conclusion. i didn't make any generalization. i related what happened. and if u had a lawyer who did what i said in my 4th last para, u'd be pissed yourself. so let's not be that kind of a lawyer.

two_one said...

Salih: :)
Anon:1. agreed. 2. please re-read the post. i never shifted the the responsibility for missing files to the lawyers. it's the courts responsibility. but if the staf is not helpful, where should you turn to get your job done?
trust me, the Judiciary is certainly taking positive steps in ensuring that files are not missing. they sometime get misplaced. complaint to the Registrar/SAR/DR. I'm sure they would be more than willing to help. if they don't, complaint to the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court. She will know what to do. :)

i agree with your conclusion. i didn't make any generalization. i related what happened. and if u had a lawyer who did what i said in my 4th last para, u'd be pissed yourself. so let's not be that kind of a lawyer.

Sasha Lyna said...

fuh, idea yg bagus..i shall ask my tea lady to do it next time..she has been asking for work byk kali!!

n the draft is gna be returned anyway..so same difference!

Anonymous said...

Dear Salih Yaakob

i dont need lawyers to rebut Adam's statement, sasha's tea lady can do the job well enough!

Farhana bukan selebriti

Anonymous said...

Sasha: meaning that your quality of drafting the order is more or less similar to the tea lady?

Farhana: then i think you should link this blog to your tea lady's blog... ;p

Salih Yaacob ... selebriti

Abdullah AR said...

I had the rare experience of being told by a court clerk in the Shah Alam High Court that the file I was involved in was missing. It went missing for at least 3 days, from the day I filed an SIC for stay of execution to the day I extracted it. The strange thing was between the day the Order I wanted to stay had been pronounced and the day I filed the SIC was only 2 clear working days. So my SIC for stay was not processed for 3 days despite being supported with a certificate of urgency because as the court clerk told me, he could not get it extracted without the file being found first. The good thing was the court clerk got my SIC processed and extracted the day he found the file.

I must admit that despite the urgency of the matter, I did not see the SAR to go complaint about the missing file. I thought there was no point in doing so. It was also because the court clerk looked sincere to me, not the 'tuang' type. But come to think of it, I think I must have decided to take the court clerk's word at face value because he seemed to have the ostensible authority to tell me that. Well, there was this counter, manned by clerks, when I said I wanted to extract the SIC I was referred to the not 'tuang' type clerk. He seemed to know what he was doing and more importantly, he was allowed to deal with lawyers. I think when you put these clerks as your front office personnels, those who deal with them should be faulted for taking their words for it. It is different if the lawyer had been told by a court tea lady that the file was missing. The tea lady would not have any ostensible authority to say so.

Its the other way round in a law office. The clients deal with us, the lawyers and we direct our clerks on what need to be done to ensure the clients' needs are fulfilled.

Of course, the proactive lawyers will go an see the SAR/TP if things are not moving at the clerks level. The more well-connected may even get the Judge or the CJ to make a phone call or two. But that should not be way. When that happens, it reflects the court's administrative failure. It could also reflect the failure of the court to properly train these court clerks so that lawyers will not have to get the TP to breath down their necks.But more importantly, I think there is no DUTY on the part of the lawyers to get behind the counter, go and see the SAR/TP etc when a court file goes missing.

So I think lawyers should be expected to know that the TPs and SARs could hear certain type of applications and they assist the Judge in a lot of things. The Session Judge and Magistrates basically hear all type of cases in their courts (that too may not be true with the recent tracking in the KL Sub Court. Better learn this change in roles buddies!!!.I must admit I do not know who the chief clerk is at the court registry and what his function is. It is ridicolous to expect lawyers to learn the roles and responsibilities of all court personnels. If I could give an example, I have the suspicion that when we file draft orders, more often than not it will be corrected by the court clerks first. If there is any problem in extracting it, it should not matter whether the lawyer knows which clerk was tasked with correcting the draft order. We file it in, we expect it to be in the BC Box in no time. Of course, it is good to know that but that should not be required in the first place.

Another thing, if it is true that lawyers must know job functions of the court personnels, then it must be applicable across the board, the seniors including. Can you ask the CJ whether when he was in practice, including in the few years before he was elevated to the Bench, he knew the job functions of all the court staff and who was responsible for what?

So while it is important for you as a judicial officer to learn about the job functions of your staff because you are their superior, the same shoould not be expected or required of the lawyers.

April Ann Calleja Cruz said...

I am not perfect on many things like what I say to family and Friends. I wanted to be somebody
I would LIke to be. I like to be
other things. I am a very well
known person.