2017/18 Judicial Year | Courts drew highest public attention, Sam Hou Fai says

Sam Hou Fai

The president of the Court of Final Appeal, Sam Hou Fai, stressed that the past judicial year (2017/18) was likely to become the judicial year which has received the most attention from all sectors of society and media since the handover, in terms of the operations of judicial organs and of judicial decisions.

Sam made these remarks on Friday during a speech at the ceremony marking the start of the 2018/19 judicial year.

As Sam explained, some of the cases that went to court “did not only have a long history, but also involved huge and complex interests or were even related to the interests of thousands of citizens and corporate legal persons, [and] chose to resort to the judicial proceedings and seek judicial relief.”

Sam also pointed out that in recent years, there have been some disturbing phenomena surrounding trials of certain cases. For instance, “some people have deviated from the basic requirements of fairness and justice, have accused judges of mechanical justice, and even openly asked the main judicial officer of the relevant cases to adjust the mainstream judicial opinions in order to accommodate different interests.” Others have tried to impact the police system regarding the relationship of the main organ of state power stipulated in the Basic Law through legal proceedings or trials.

Sam also put forward requirements for the integrity of judicial personnel. He hoped that the judges and judicial assistants of the courts at all levels could bear in mind that honesty is the foundation of fair justice.

According to the president of the Court of Final Appeal, the three levels of the courts registered a total of 21,765 cases, a decrease of 2,747 cases from the previous judicial year, representing a drop of 11.21 percent.

However, the total number of cases remained high, as it has now exceeded 20,000 cases for four consecutive years.

The total number of concluded cases exceeded the number of cases registered by the courts for the first time, with 23,426 cases concluded in total, 557 more than in the previous judicial year.

Additionally, 11,954 cases remained unresolved, 1,662 fewer than in the previous judicial year.

During a speech at the opening of the judicial year, Chief Executive Chui Sai On pledged the government would strive to ensure the creation of conditions to allow dedicated infrastructure to support judicial institutions when formulating overall plans for the city’s new urban reclamation areas next year.

Additionally, the CE pledged the Macau government’s full support in enhancing operations of the city’s judicial system, in a bid to improve the efficiency of the judiciary and of the city’s prosecutors.

Chui said the government would strive to optimize Macau’s legal system according to the specific needs of the judicial system.

According to Chui, an example of the government’s support was an amendment to the Judicial Organization Framework Law – based on opinions gathered from the judiciary – which had been submitted for readings at the Legislative Assembly.

“Macau courts and the Public Prosecutions Office were respectively vested – by the Basic Law – with the ability to exercise their various powers independently and free from any interference,” Chui stressed in his speech.

“The Government has, as always, paid great attention to training a greater number of judicial professionals and building more facilities to cope with development of the judicial system.”

Approximately 300 officials and guests attended the event.

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