Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A What? Toll Booth??

I suppose I can say this on behalf of most, if not all, Senior Assistant Registrars in Malaysia that it’s quite difficult to explain to people what we actually do. I was a Senior Assistant Registrar / SAR (not Sekolah Agama Rendah!) or Penolong Kanan Pendaftar (PKP) from August 2007 – Mei 2008.

“Where do you work?”

“Kuala Lumpur High Court, you know, the new biggest court complex?”

“Ow… what do you do?”

“I’m a Senior Assistant Registrar”

“A WHAT??”

“I’m the Judge’s Toll Gate. I screen most of the application before it goes to the Judge”


It’s so much easier explaining that I’m a Magistrate now… even an old grandma knows what a Magistrate is.

“Ow… what do you do?”

“I’m a Magistrate”

“HAAA??? SOO YOUNG??? Orangnye kocik ajo pulak tuu…”

Funny eh? I still remember my second interview when the interviewer asked me if I’d like to be a Senior Assistant Registrar. I said, “Honestly, I have never heard about Senior Assistant Registrar and I don’t even know what the job scope is. HOWEVER!!! I am willing to learn and since everything will be new to me, it matters not where you put me.” Then I grinned and smiled, trying not to sweat on my forehead. My interviewer smiled back at me…

Well, an SAR can be said as the Judge’s toll gate. I would be dealing with most of the interlocutory applications such as amendment of the statement of claim, garnishee proceedings, summary judgments, striking out applications etc etc. Apparently, beginning June 2008, there was a directive that SARs need not hear summary judgment and striking out applications anymore. Probably because most, if not all of the SAR’s decision is appealed and this would only delay the matters in court.

In dealing with the interlocutory applications, an SAR would be dealing with lawyers in chambers. Since High Court matters are worth RM 250,000 and above, most of the lawyers are very senior and experienced. I honestly learned so so much from them. Hence the reason why I never allowed for written submission and only allow oral submission with a skeletal draft. This way, I could get some free lesson on advocacy skills.

Read. I read my files. I read all of my files before my matters, especially if the counsel is late. After a while, I knew where to look and find the usual errors. Once, I corrected one counsel’s application before him. Coincidentally, he was my cousin’s friend and he told him (my cousin) that it’s difficult to lie to me because I read my files.

I also heard that there were some (only some) lawyers who were afraid to submit before me. That’s odd. There I was, fresh in the service with no prior litigation experience, and these senior lawyers were afraid of me??

Decisions? Yes, I write my decisions. All of them. I would take a lot of time to read all of the affidavits, skeletal submissions, bundle of authorities submitted and “try” to write a solid decision. You can ask the Bride how I would suddenly scribble something while we were out walking in the mall because I got some revelation on how to justify my reasoning. I took much pain in doing my work. I’d also read out my decisions to the parties. Some asked me for a copy but I never did give them a copy. Not because I was afraid of writing something wrong but because I did not want people to expect all SAR to prepare their reasoning. (Aku je yang poyo nak menulis panjang-panjang). A few of my decisions have been upheld by my Judge on appeal. The rest are still pending appeal.

I guess it’ll be difficult to know what will happen to my decisions since I’m no longer there to monitor the files…

Oh well…Blog adjourned!

2 obiter dictum:

Anonymous said...

banyaknya cerita macam puji diri sendiri ye..

two_one said...

memang pun... takkan nak cerita yang memalukan saja... yang best-best pun kenalah cerita jugak...