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With courthouses nationwide closed due to the Movement Control Order (MCO), lawyers are asking when they can get back to work.
The Malaysian Bar explained that the government failed to provide clear instructions on whether or not the nationâ€™s legal services were allowed to continue operating during the lockdown.
Notably, legal firms aren’t considered an essential service industry following the second phase of the MCO.
The Council believes that lawyers should be given some freedom to continue working given that the Health Ministry approves of the action and with clear guidelines from the government.
With the commencement of MCO Phase 2, the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court issued a directive for all civil and criminal court hearings to be postponed and authorized the nationâ€™s legal system to work remotely.
Fun fact, Malaysia has its own e-Court system that allows trials to be held without the need for judges and lawyers to be present in court and allows for, more or less, a virtual trial to be conducted via video-conferencing.
However, due to the extension of the MCO period the Malaysian Bar had requested the country’s judiciary to review its orders as legal practitioners were facing difficulty to conduct cases without access to their resources.
The Council is currently in correspondence with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to sort everything out.
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