How to Judge the Judges

NH Chan

How to Judge the Judges by NH Chan is his recollection of famous controversial cases decided by Malaysian courts.

He does not mince words when he gives his personal view of the judges who decided these cases.
NH Chan also interspersed his commentary with a liberal dose of quotes from English cases.

I can recall two personal interactions with NH Chan.

I vividly recall appearing before him when he was sitting at the iconic Jalan Raja courts.

After the hearing, he took out from his drawer a small pocket-size Collins Dictionary of Quotations.

He said he referred to it when he wanted to use a saying from Hamlet for the Ayer Molek judgment in relation to the fact that the Kuala Lumpur High court was situated in a building called Denmark House, KL. The rest is history, as they say-

These observations are made so that people will not say, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1.

The second occasion was in the arbitrator’s room in the KLRCA. He had retired from the judiciary and was there hearing a case as an arbitrator.

We were chatting away when he told me he can’t understand why counsel when he was sitting at the Court of Appeal would submit at length to him on basic principles and trite cases.

He explained that after hearing say 5 to 8 appeals a day for the past 10 years, counsel must give some credit to the judges that they are familiar with the law!

Lwh @ Chinese New Year
6th Day 2024

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