«THURSDAY 23RD FEBRUARY 2012 02:00 PM AUDITORIUM, WISMA MCA JALAN AMPANG, KUALA LUMPUR KUALA LUMPUR BAR COMMITTEE 2011/12 L to R (Front): Mary Tan ...»
5. OthER PROGRAMS As a follow-up session, the Committee organised a Get-together Session for the 8th Advanced Training participants and volunteers who have volunteered during the Exit Evaluation Sessions on 14 October 2011.
The aim of this session was to bring back pupils/volunteers who have indicated interest to assist the BCLAC (KL) and brief them on the tasks involved in the various programs/activities for their better understanding and to give them a better perspective of what is expected from them.
A total of 24 participants volunteered to assist in the various programs / activities of the BCLAC (KL).
• Committee members’ commitment and their ability to come up with ideas to implement and further improve the training sessions
• Motivation of pupils on the need to serve the needy and marginalised
• Education of pupils on human rights which instill a sense of justice in them
• Retention of many young lawyers to serve voluntarily in LAC through its Advanced Training Program
• To be able to organise more awareness and human rights sessions for lawyers and/or the public
• To be able to discover ways to retain and maintain the involvement of pupils and young lawyers.
The year 2011 has been a hectic year for this Committee and the Committee hopes its members will continue to show their commitment and dedication during the years to come.
intRODuCtiOn The Dock Brief Program first started in 1989 at Jalan Raja Magistrates’ Courts. In the beginning it started with only 2 courts with 4 pupils on duty. Now it covers 14 courts with 75 pupils to assist both local and foreign clients including juveniles.
The pupils are trained to develop both advocacy and interview skills. The criminal law services provided under this program involves mitigation, bail application, and other related advice.
Senior lawyers are invited by the committee to conduct training for pupils. For this year, Ram Karpal, Dato’ Hanif Hashim, Datuk Bajlit Singh Sidhu and Edmund Bon assisted in the training. Besides that, the Committee also conducted role-play and mock-trial during the training in order for the pupils to have a better understanding of the Dock Brief program.
During the year 2011, the committee had:
1. 6 (six) committee meetings to discuss the various matters pertaining to the program and action plans for the year 2011.
2. The committee also conducted 5 (five) Dock Brief Training Programs for pupils from Batches 65, 66, 67 and 68. A total of 320 pupils attended the said trainings.
3. The committee also conducted 5 (five) Mid Term Reviews for the pupils involved in the Dock Brief Program.
MEEtinG With JuDiCiARY
• The committee had a meeting with Puan Komathy, Sessions Court Judge to discuss problems pertaining to Dock Brief Program. During the meeting, the committee explained the purpose of the Dock Brief Program and the pupils’ duties.
Besides that, the committee had also sent a letter to the Judiciary requesting for a meeting and the Judiciary replied saying that they are in favour of a meeting. The committee will meet the Judiciary sometime in December 2011 or January 2012 to discuss the various matters pertaining to the Dock Brief Program as well as problems faced by pupils with regards to touting lawyers.
WEAKnESSES • The court does not recognise mitigation done by the pupils. There is no difference in sentence given to clients whether it was done by the pupils or by the clients themselves.
• The Program also faces difficulties in achieving its objective due to some touting lawyers.
To improve the success of the Dock Brief Program, the following steps are recommended:
• to increase liaisons and cooperation with the Authorities;
Overall the Dock Brief Committee had a very busy year in 2011.
BAR COUNCIL LEGAL AID CENTRE (KUALA LUMPUR)64 ANNUAL REPORT 2011/12 •
5. BCLAC (KL) REPORt On LAC/PRiSOnS PROGRAM (SG BuLOh, KAJAnG WOMEn, KAJAnG JuVEniLE, MiGRAnt PRiSOn AnD JuVEniLE REMAnD hOME) Report prepared by Ramesh Lachmanan, Project Head and Secretariat
intRODuCtiOn The Program first started in December 1997 at Sungai Buloh Prison and slowly it initiated other related programs such as the Kajang Women Prison (“KWP”) in the year 2000, the Kajang Women Migrant Prison (“KWMP”) in September 2003 and the Sungai Buloh Migrant Prison (“SBMP”) in May 2004. Meanwhile the Juvenile Remand Home (“JRH”) Program commenced in 2001 and it ventured into the Kajang Juvenile Prison (“KJP”) in 2007.
In March 2005, all the five Prisons Program i.e. SBP, SBMP, KWP, KWMP, KJP, JRH merged under one program. The Legal Aid Centre also collaborates with the Selangor Legal Aid Centre (“Selangor LAC”) by having their pupils to participate in the Sungai Buloh Prison Clinic since June 2005.
During the year 2011, the committee had:
1. 4 (Four) committee meetings to discuss the various matters pertaining to the Prisons Program and action plans for the year 2011.
2. The committee also conducted 4 (Four) Prisons Training Programs for pupils from Batches 65, 66, 67 and 68. A total of 100 pupils attended the said trainings.
3. The committee also conducted 4 (Four) Mid Term Reviews for the pupils involved in the Prisons Program.
PRiSOn GEt - tOGEthER SESSiOnS
• On 23 November 2011, the Prisons Committee organised a very successful get-together session and dinner for all the Prisons Authorities and the various Government Departments which the Prisons Committee had networked. A total of 60 guests attended the said session, namely, Prisons Authorities from both Sungai Buloh and Kajang Prisons, Courts, P/Supt, OCCI of IPK Kuala Lumpur, Officers from the Court’s OC’s Department, Council Members, Management Panel members, LAC Staff and others.
In the year 2011, a total of 84 files were opened and 76 files were assigned to volunteers lawyers. Please refer to the above statistics. The committee’s main objective for the year was to get as many lawyers as possible to volunteer to take up cases from the Centre as well as to reduce the number of unassigned cases. As part of its objective, the committee itself made a point that each committee member do take up at least one (1) file in order to reduce the number of unassigned cases and this is clearly reflected on the number of assigned cases.
• Lack of feedback on the cases referred to the other State Legal Aid Centres.
• The Program does, however face some challenges in achieving its objectives. The key challenges are getting new volunteer lawyers to represent the clients.
To improve the Prisons Program, the following steps are recommended:
• to reduce the number of remand prisoners among the lower income segment of society;
• to ensure that remand prisoners do not remain in remand for more than three months;
• to increase liaisons and cooperation with the authorities;
• to have (LAC) posters in Prisons and Juvenile Remand Homes for Public and family members to contact LAC.
The Syariah Clinic operates from the Secretariat and is open to public from Monday to Friday at 10.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. The Syariah Clinic is manned by pupils who are supervised by the experienced Syariah lawyers.
The pupils were given a half-day training course, which focused on Syariah Civil as well as Criminal Laws and Procedures. They also attended one-day training with the Legal Aid Clinic. The training was aimed to provide basic/ brief knowledge on criminal, employment and family laws as well as the basic techniques and skills of interviewing walk-in clients in order to ensure that the pupils are well equipped before they start their duties at the Clinic. The entire committee had actively participated in the training program with the help of LAC officers on a rotation basis whereby the committee members supervised the training each time. This year the training was conducted in a workshop style whereby the participants had been divided into groups in several slots of discussions whereby they can share their opinions and views.
Most of the cases referred to the Centre were application for Divorce, Kembali Taat (Re-abiding), Pengesahan Cerai (Notifications of Divorce), Maintenance and Matrimonial Property Claims. This shows that there is awareness among couples of their rights within the ambit of Syariah Law concerning marriage and divorce.
In view thereof, the Syariah Committee members wish to organise more outreach projects in future to educate public, to increase awareness and better understanding of their rights under the Syariah Law. Outreach project in Taman Faderson, Kepong and Semua House, Jalan TAR were a great success. Further, we are looking forward to have a meeting with Majlis Agama and/or Mahkamah Syariah to discuss related issues, basic procedures and whether we can have a joint venture program with them in the future.
Last but not least, we are honoured to be part of this team and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Management Panel, Staff of the Legal Aid Centre, Syariah Committee Members, the participating pupils and also volunteers for their time, interest and commitment in making the Syariah Clinic run smoothly. Thank you.
intRODuCtiOn The Legal Aid Centre Clinic (“LAC Clinic”) is on the 9th Floor of Wisma Kraftangan and is one of the main programs of the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (Kuala Lumpur).
The LAC Clinic is open to the public from Monday to Friday during working hours. People approach the Centre to obtain advice and assistance on criminal, employment, family, civil and miscellaneous matters.
Pupils are on duty at the Clinic to interview, advice and assist these members of the public. In order to assist with this LAC Clinic the pupils receive training in the various laws and interviewing skills needed. The pupils are also assisted by supervisors who can be contacted by phone or are present at the centre. The pupils are further assisted by the members of the LAC Clinic committee.
On behalf of the committee and the Secretariat, we would like to extend our sincere appreciation and indebtedness to all the members of the committee and volunteer lawyers as well as guest speakers who have tirelessly lectured and provided trainings to the pupils prior to the commencement of their legal aid duty.
Thus far, our competent and experienced LAC Clinic supervisors have been monitoring the pupils well. We appeal to all volunteer lawyers to drop in to the Secretariat whenever possible to supervise the pupils and monitor legal advices rendered by the pupils.
One of the objectives of the LAC Clinic is to stimulate pupils/lawyers to discover their role and responsibility as holistic lawyers in our society. It is also to develop a sense of social obligation and an overall concern for human rights, justice and the rule of law as well as to generate critical awareness and understanding of society in general, to understand the interplay of forces and the root cause for the problems and inadequacies in Malaysia.
LAC Clinic is attempting to instil and develop a long-term commitment towards legal aid and human rights among the younger generation, which extends beyond the compulsory 14 days of legal aid duty during pupillage.
StAtiStiCS As of 30 november 2011, a total number of 2849 persons were interviewed. This denotes a increase compared to the previous year where 2362 persons were interviewed. Out of the 2849 persons who were interviewed, 137 persons were given legal representation and 1192 persons were given advice only. A total of 1373 applicants were referred to other clinics, Government departments and other State LACs.
ADDitiOnAL ACtiVitiES OF LAC CLiniC On 23 September 2011, the LAC Clinic had a meeting with the Jabatan Bantuan Guaman (“JBG”). Among the issues discussed included the jurisdiction of JBG, the eligibility of the applicants, its operating hours, the manpower of JBG, and cooperation between JBG and KLLAC. The main purpose of the meeting was to identify the jurisdiction of JBG to avoid misunderstanding or overlapping of jurisdiction and to develop a better understanding between the two organisations.
On 8 October 2011, the LAC Clinic organised a “Mini Outreach” at the Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman Pasar Malam. he objective of the event was to create awareness among the public on the existence of the LAC Clinic and to explain to them the jurisdiction of the Clinic. During the outreach program, we had 5 walk-in clients relating to matters such as divorce, matrimonial
BAR COUNCIL LEGAL AID CENTRE (KUALA LUMPUR)68 ANNUAL REPORT 2011/12 • properties, consumerism and other civil claims.
StREnGthS The strength of the LAC Clinic lies in the programme itself. This is reflected by the increase in the number of clients visiting the LAC Clinic. In addition, the pupils serving at the LAC Clinic are another added value and strength without whom it would be impossible to have the clients interviewed in the first place.
The staff of the LAC Clinic, the combined effort of the pupils and the volunteer lawyers are the pillars of strength of the Clinic.
Although they are small in numbers, nonetheless, their presence is the fuel that powers the daily running of the Clinic.
WEAKnESSES The LAC Clinic regrets to report that a fair share of the pupils possess apathetic attitudes towards their duties. This is evident from the numerous improperly prepared interview sheets that leave out crucial information necessary for rendering advice and follow-up actions.
On a few occasions, pupils have also rendered advice without consulting a supervising lawyer either through telephone or inperson whenever they are present at the LAC Clinic. Such reckless conduct is capable of damaging LAC Clinic’s reputation if the advice rendered is found to be incorrect or inappropriate.
Another perennial problem faced by the LAC Clinic is the lack of volunteer lawyers interested in carrying out training sessions as well as being present at the LAC Clinic regularly to supervise the pupils. There is ample room for improvement in this area.
COnCLuSiOn The entire committee was actively involved in the trainings with the help of experienced lawyers.
We are indebted to our volunteer lawyers such as Mr Chandrasegaran A/L Rajandran, Mr Muhendaran Sri, Mr Arimuthu A/L Peritamby, Ms Sheela Devi A/P Palanisamy, Ms Janice Anne Leo Selvanathan, Mr Abd Shukor Bin Tokachil, Mr Lo Yean Meow, Ms Santha Menon Bhaskara and Mr Vijaya Kumar a/l Nadayson Murugiah who gave up their spare time graciously for the Clinic.
8. BCLAC (KL) REPORt On LAC/Pt/MAC LEGAL CLiniC 2011 Report prepared by Preetam Kaur, Project Head and Secretariat
A. MEDiA PORtRAYAL OF thE MARGinALiSED?
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