It’s time for a judicial reform, says Ho Chio Meng

Thursday, October 22, 2009
Issue 850, Page 1 & 3
Word count: 409
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The time has come for Macau to start solving deeply-rooted problems that have been restraining its judicial system, Prosecutor-General Ho Chio Meng said yesterday.

In his speech given at the opening ceremony of the 2009/2010 Judicial Year, Ho said that Macau must have the “courage” to meet new challenges and use a new mindset to transform proceedings and the system so as to enhance judicial quality and efficiency as a whole.

He also said that the SAR government needs to amend the judicial personnel system and also push forward the development of the legal system so that it could become a “cornerstone” to maintain the stability and prosperity of Macau society in a long-term.

“The judicial system is lagging behind which is one of the major causes of judicial institutes being restrained in their operations.

“Hence we must have to revise the civil and criminal procedures and focus on upgrading judicial efficiency in order to meet the demand and expectations of society,” the Prosecutor-General said.

In regard to transforming the training and the job entry system of judicial personnel, he said if there was no sufficient and quality officers pushing forward the operations of the entire judicial system, it was impossible for judicial activities to attain positive outcomes in society.

“Since five prosecutors joined our team in 2004, we had been waiting for five whole years and only until this year we have just one more prosecutor,” Ho told the audience.

“Between organising seminars and regular training, we must have to give priority to regular training; between legal quality and bilingual capability, legal quality must come first; between personal preferences and morality, we must have to choose morality at the first place,” he said.

As for promoting the development of the legal system, Ho said the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) would finish shortly the revision of the legislation “The organisation and operation of the Prosecutor-General’s Office”.

One of the changes is to separate the Prosecutor-General’s responsibilities of leading the MP and managing the daily administration of the MP.

By setting up an auxiliary branch to improve management Ho said that efficiency would be able to be enhanced.

In addition, the MP will turn its focus from criminal punishment to crime prevention.

When handling civil cases, the Prosecutor-General said the MP will emphasize negotiations, which are internationally recognised as “the most environmental means” for settling civil disputes, and also promote arbitration which is a “shortcut” to resolve disputes besides lawsuits.

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