Courts, Prosecutions Office to have more judicial officers

Friday, May 15, 2009
Issue 702, Page 3
Word count: 375
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The judicial body of Macau will soon expand its personnel structure mainly by increasing the number of judges, prosecutors and assistant attorney generals.

The bill passed its first and final reading in an emergency procedure at the Legislative Assembly yesterday and the changes will come into effect the following day after the law is gazetted.

In the Court of First Instance (TJB), the number of collegial panel presidents will be increased from four to eight, and judges from 24 to 32.

The Administrative Court will retain to have two judges.

As for the Court of Second Instance (TSI), judges will also be increased from five to nine.

In addition, while the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) will retain to have one attorney general, the number of assistant attorney generals and prosecutors will be raised from respectively nine to 14 and from 23 to 32.

Due to the increase number of TSI judges, the operation mode of the court will also be revised.

As such, the TSI will set up two chambers with different jurisdictions – one for handling criminal cases, and the other one for civil, administrative, labour, family and juvenile cases.

Judges will be assigned to the two chambers but the combinations can be adjusted regularly.

Secretary for Administrative and Justice, Florinda Chan, said at the legislature that the 44 percent increase of judicial officers was prompted by rapid development in society and the necessity to enhance judicial body’s operational efficiency.

She also said that an emergency procedure was required to pass the bill because six interns will be graduated from the judicial training course in June this year.

However, some lawmakers also urged for a more complete revision of the entire “Outline of the Judicial Body Law”, citing it involved “a lot more internal reforms and procedural problems long needed to be solved”.

Au Kam San, Jose Pereira Coutinho and Fong Chi Keong questioned the necessity to adopt an emergency procedure for the bill, adding the government nowadays “always hands in bills in the last minute and then requests exemption of deliberation at the standing committee level”.

President of the Legislative Assembly, Susana Chou, agreed. She said that the government should “learn from the lesson” and she hoped improvements will be seen in the future.

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