KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — Both judiciary and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) systems should strive to provide reasoned decisions while deciding cases independently, fairly and without fear or favour, says Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat.

She said the independence of the judiciary is a concept that is embossed into the very fabric of the justice system.

“Duli Yang Maha Mulia (DYMM) Sultan Nazrin (the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah) too has very recently spoken on this. To quote DYMM Tuanku: “There should not be any doubt and a judge must be free from any influence or pressure”.

“Although Sultan Nazrin’s address was in relation to the Syariah Courts, the considerations in relation to the Malaysian Judiciary and even the ADR systems remain the same.

“Both systems should strive to provide reasoned decisions while deciding cases independently, fairly and without fear or favour. In this regard, I can do no better than to humbly echo DYMM Tuanku’s sentiments,” said the top judge in her address at the Fourth Asian ADR Week 2022 Conference of the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) here today.

During the event, Sultan Nazrin also delivered his keynote address.

Apart from that, Tengku Maimun said the judiciary recognises the crucial role of arbitration and other ADR mechanisms.

She said the ADR mechanisms such as mediation, negotiation and arbitration offer parties the opportunity to resolve their disputes without the lengthy and tedious process of litigation.

Tengku Maimun, however, added that there were different views on how the relationship between the courts and arbitral institutions should be perceived.

“It can be argued that those avenues of dispute resolution belong to two competing realms, distinct from one another. However, I believe that these two avenues of dispute resolution are complementary to each other in the quest for justice,” she said.

Tengku Maimun added that parties believe that by having greater autonomy in resolving their disputes, they can reach a solution faster and more effectively in the forum of their choice.

“The courts are only there to preserve what the parties have agreed to in the first place. This is not to say that the courts are irrelevant. Their limited role is to respect the autonomy of the parties. After all, the parties cannot complain about the procedure if it is the procedure they have chosen. Nor can it be said that ADR is a zone of anarchy because of its flexibility,” she explained.

In this regard, Tengku Maimun said ADR tribunals remain subject to the law and are not immune to judicial review if warranted, thus upholding the rule of law and the role of an independent judiciary.

“The Malaysian judiciary will always support the growth of ADR. With the AIAC continuously promoting and facilitating ADR, and with constant support from the other relevant dispute resolution bodies, I am confident that the future of ADR is safe,” she said. — Bernama