Judge introduces new concept allowing universities to arbitrate disputes

Tan Sri Razali Ismail, Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer and Datuk Mah Weng Kwai pose for pictures during the book presentation in Kuala Lumpur January 10, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Tan Sri Razali Ismail, Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer and Datuk Mah Weng Kwai pose for pictures during the book presentation in Kuala Lumpur January 10, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Hamid Sultan Abu Backer is working on a new arbitration concept dubbed the University Cum Court Annexed Arbitration (University Arbitration).

According to advocate and solicitor Datuk Joy Appukuttan, who is also Hamid’s spokesman, it will allow universities to stand as another feasible platform for arbitrating disputes or resolving legal conflicts.

Speaking at the concept’s book launch today tilted University Cum Court Annexed Arbitration, Proposal and Model Scheme Book for Malaysia 2018, Joy, who is the book’s editor, said it will utilise university faculty members, especially those who are specialists and experts in their field as well as graduates to be trained in dispute resolution and to hear arbitration cases.

Joy said the concept enabled parties with various grievances such as building contract disputes and medical negligence, among other cases, to be reviewed by professionals instead of going through the courts.

“For the courts to resolve such disputes, they often need to call in experts to give their testimony and shed light into the case.

“In this concept, we would utilise the university and the strength of its faculty from various field to help resolve the matter. They could also even tap in the strength of their alumni to arbitrate a case,” he said.

The model scheme book was officially launched by Hamid and was attended by Tan Sri Razali Ismail Chairman of Human Rights Commission of Malaysia and retired Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mah Weng Kwai.

Datuk Joy Appukuttan speaks to reporters after the book presentation in Kuala Lumpur January 10, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Joy Appukuttan speaks to reporters after the book presentation in Kuala Lumpur January 10, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Joy also said under the concept, parties could even choose who would arbitrate their case.

“The parties interested in the process can also appoint judicial officers from within the court to hear their cases apart from experts or specialist from within the universities,” he said, citing further that by doing so, it would allow for a better adjudication process.

The concept would also provide better access for justice to the poor as the cost would be far less compared going through the courts, said Joy.

“It would also reduce the backlog of cases in the courts, leaving the courts to handle more complex issues,” he said.

Joy revealed that concept was very well accepted in eight local universities namely Universiti Malaya. Islamic University Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and Universiti Utara Malaysia to name a few.

The concept is also gaining international as even universities in the UK and Singapore have shown interest.