Law professionals cite same old issues

Lawyers reiterating the necessity of judicial system reform and the courts explaining the hearing of the former Prosecutor-general corruption case cited as the reason for the rocketing growth of pending cases

Yesterday’s opening ceremony of a new judicial year was launched with a lamentation made by the President of the Macau Lawyers Association, Jorge Neto Valente, on the continued stagnant development of the judicial field and courts of the city.
The lawyer said that the number of cases wrapped up by the courts was 10 per cent fewer than the number of cases accepted last year, remarking that the number of pending cases keeps growing.
With cases scheduled as far ahead as April 2018, the lawyer wished that the eight newly qualified judges could improve the slow progress provided by the Court of First Instance.
Valente further said related institutions had not initiated discussions about the reform of the city’s judicial system despite it being advocated two years ago, while also expressing surprise at the lack of studies of judicial conditions and public opinions on the city’s judiciary.
“Can we not have the confidential management of the judges have higher transparency and be less formalised? How should we improve the quality of adjudication?” queried the lawyer during his speech.
Meanwhile, President of the Court of Final Appeal, Justice Sam Hou Fai, said the increase in litigation cases was due to the improvement of residents’ awareness as well as the government’s efforts to rule in accordance with the law.
“The 26 cases of appeal relating to the government's announcement of invalid land concessions are the proof [of the government’s effort to rule according to the law],” said Justice Sam.
Encouraging the profession to provide opinions on the commenced revision work of the Civil Code by the government, Justice Sam remarked that “those who are the so-called experienced ones in the legal field should correctly face and embrace that fact that the Macau SAR has already returned to Mainland China for 18 years”. He added that the old European thinking and system that restricts a city’s development should be abandoned.

Justice Sam further explained the hearing of the former Prosecutor -general of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) Ho Chio Meng’s bribery case had led to the stalling of hearing other cases. The judge further argued in his speech the necessity of revising the law for judicial organisation in order to resolve the inflexibilities of procedures.
Lawyer Valante, on the other hand, questioned the closing of a case with no appeals possible after verdicts were handed down by the Court of Final Appeal. The case of Ho was first heard and adjudicated by the top court with no appeals able to be lodged due to the absence of a higher level legal institution.
Meanwhile, incumbent MP head, Ip Son Sang, said the MP was to safeguard the responsibility as a public judicial institution and as such remained firm in bringing the lawsuit of over 1,000 accusations.against Ho
The MP head commented that the sector is currently facing new challenges apropos the growing number of crimes related to money laundering, cyber and telecom crimes, but affirmed that the newly revised law provides clearer definitions of clauses which would help combat money laundering.