October 22, 2017

Accomplishments of the judicial pillar in its reform mission during the one-year period

The Union Supreme Court held the meeting on the review and development of codes of judicial counduct.

Of the three branches or the three pillars of sovereign power of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar — the legislative power, the administrative power and the judicial power— the judicial power is entrusted to the Supreme Court of the Union, Region High Courts and State High Courts, district courts, township courts, special courts in accord with the 2008 Constitution and the relevant laws. Judicial affairs are being conducted by the Union Supreme Court, 14 region/state high courts, 72 district courts, 330 township courts, 22 special courts.
A promise for justice
The judicial pillar of Myanmar guarantees quality services, free and fair hearings and equal justice for every person, while placing the mission of winning public trust and relience as its priority goal. It is also receiving international cooperation in its reform process.
On 15 June 2016, the Union Supreme Court and Federal Court of Australia signed MoU to cooperate in yearly implementing the judicial strategy of Myanmar and follow-up judicial procedures.
On 1 December 2016, the Union Supreme Court and the Embassy of Denmark in Myanmar signed MoU for further enforcement of the rule of law and promotion of human rights in Myanmar.
The Union Supreme Court on 18 March 2016 signed the amendment of the document with Japan International Cooperation Agency-JICA on the discussion in connection with judicial affairs of Myanmar.
The judicial strategy (2015-2017) was drawn to implement the policy, targets, objectives and work programs of the Union Supreme Court. The second year of the strategy fell in the first year term of the government in office. The strategy has five areas – to enable people to enjoy equal rights in justice through the provision of proper protection, to promote public awareness in the judicial matters, to promote freedom of justice and responsibility and accountability of the courts, to guarantee the quality, fairness and dignity of the judicial affairs.
Upgrading of judicial services
All the procedures of the courts are posted on www.union supremecourt.gov.mm which is the Internet page of the Union Supreme Court and the social network page of Public Relations Division of the Union Supreme Court in real time for ensuring transparency and enabling people to enjoy justice on equal terms.
As a public awareness campaign, the Union Supreme Court published 380,000 copies of pamphlets explaining about crimes, civil laws, capital punishment, writs, and court procedures in the whole country. The Union Supreme Court also makes arrangements for university law students to study its procedures in person.
Structural reformation
With the aim of providing better and quality judicial and court services, a new building for the Union Supreme Court was inaugurated on 16 May 2016. The building houses public rest room, media room, civil law cases and writs acceptance counters, and counters for advocates, correspondence and copier machine services and other necessary services. These counters and rooms facilitate public services at the Union Supreme Court and ensures public satisfaction.
The Union Supreme Court in implementing the judicial codes of conduct has made improved, modified or adjusted some of them to become more perfect. Union Supreme Court took the assistance of the Denmark government, UNDP and ICJ in holding the Third Dialogue in Myanmar on 28 last month. The Union Supreme Court opens case acceptance counters, advocate counters and general services counters to provide one-stop services for all.
Opening of Dekkhinathiri District Court, Namhsam (North) Township Court, Dekkinathiri Township Court at new buildings has smoothened their procedures and provided convenience for the public. Hence, a new building for Hlaingthaya Township Court was permitted at a construction cost of K 1379 million in fiscal year 2016-2017.
Spacious courts
Separate rest rooms for witnesses, lawyers, law officers, information centres for the public, enquiry counters, case acceptance counters, wheel-chair path for the disabled, media interview rooms, spacious temporary lock-ups, and security gates are included in erecting a new court building to have all the necessary court facilities and services.
A pilot project is under way to facilitate court procedures at all levels. The pilot project covered Toungoo District Court in Bago Region, Hlaingthaya Township Court in Yangon Region, and Hpa-an Township Court in Kayin State. The project which started in 2015 showed significant signs of improvement at the courts in 2016 during the one-year period.
So, in 2016, five more courts — Chanayethazan Township Court in Mandalay Region, Pathein Township Court in Ayeyawady Region, Magway Township Court in Magway Region, Monywa District Court in Sagaing Region and Mawlamyine District Court in Mon State were added to the project.
Code of judicial conduct
The Union Supreme Court held the meeting on the review and development of codes of judicial conduct for two times.
It also held the meeting with the participation of Denmark, UNDP and ICJ on 28 February this year in Myanmar. The aim of the meeting was to make the codes of judicial conduct in Myanmar to be in conformity with the international practices and norms.
Judge efficiency improvement courses were conducted under Presentation, Mock Case Study, Sharing Experience Style, Group Work which was a new system. with the help of JICA. Mock Case File, Flowcharts were used as teaching aids at the course. At the course, Caseflow Management was conducted with the cooperation of USIDA, Fair Trial Standard with the cooperation of UNDP, and International Standards to Juvenile Justice with the cooperation of UNICEF.
As for the staff of Union Supreme Court, basic computer courses, job efficiency computer refresher courses, mid-level computer courses and other necessary courses are being conducted. Region and state high courts also conducted courses on Introduction to International Computer Driving Level, Fair Trial Standards Training and Rule of Law Principles and Evidential Analysis with the help of UNDP for the efficiency improvement of their judicial staff and office staff.
High court advocate certificates were conferred on 1087 lawyers and Higher-Grade Pleader certificates on 1530 persons in 2016. Moreover, a total of 1323 persons were acknowledged as interns of the profession.
Caseflow Management
As to reduce time, cost and energy the defendants, plaintiffs and witnesses have to use in visiting the courts time and again to the most possible degree, the Union Supreme Court has worked in coordination with the USIDA.
Caseflow management is the process by which courts move cases from filing to closure.  This includes all pre-trial phases, trials, and increasingly, events that follow disposition to ensure the integrity of court orders and timely completion of post-disposition case activity.
Effective caseflow management makes justice possible not only in individual cases but also across judicial systems and courts, both trial and appellate.  Effective caseflow helps ensure that every litigant receives procedural due process and equal protection.  The quality of justice is enhanced when judicial administration is organized around the requirements of effective caseflow and trial management.
Crucial issues that impact the effective movement of cases from filing to closure include: Court system and trial court organization and authority relationships, including the management of judges by judges; The identification, development, selection, and succession of chief judges and court managers, chief judge/court manager executive leadership teams, and the best use of these and other multi-disciplinary executive teams; Allocation of court resources: judges, managerial, technical and administrative staff; budgets; technology; and courthouses, courtrooms, and other facilities across courts, court divisions, case types, and particular types of hearings; Application of court technology and the court’s research, data, and analytic capability; and Coordination with the judiciary’s justice system partners.
Caseflow management is the process by which courts convert their “inputs” (cases) into “outputs” (dispositions).  This conversion process, caseflow management, determines how well courts achieve their most fundamental and substantive objectives and purposes.  Properly understood, caseflow management is the absolute heart of court management.
The system was introduced in the three courts of the pilot project — Toungoo District Court, Hlinethya Township Court and Hpa-an Township Court – on 1-7-2015. The review of their functions after the one year period has shown the satisfaction of all stakeholders has increased to 66 per cent. Hence, Monywa District Court, Mawlamyine District Court, Magway Township Court, Chanayethazan Township Court and Pathein Township Court totaling five courts were put under the Caseflow Management project beginning 1-10-2016.
As to ensure full rights for the prisoners and detainees the Union Chief Justice, judges of the Union Supreme Court, chief justices of High Courts of the regions and states and judges are visiting prisons, detention centres, correction centres and police lock-ups and meeting with prisoners and detainees. They check whether the prisons, detention centres, correction centres and look-ups are in accord with the required norms such as sanitation, food, health condition, welfare, accommodation, access to medical care, and safety at the sites.
The judicial system of Myanmar meets the norm widely accepted and applied by the democratic countries, and the existing laws are constantly protecting and promoting the legal rights of the citizens. All along the early term of the government in office, the Union Supreme Court with the effective cooperation of the people and partner organizations has being steering all the subordinate courts towards improving their procedures and winning public trust and reliance.

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