THE Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) has listed the establishment of a juvenile court and a government agency responsible for the protection of intellectual property as objectives it hopes to achieve in the coming years.
With effect from March 1, an amendment to the Children and Young Person's Order provides for the creation of a juvenile court in the Sultanate, which champions the principle that offenders under the 18 years should be treated differently from adult offenders.
"The spirit of the order is to decriminalise and remove young offenders from penal institutions and to increase the juvenile court's intervention in the reintegration of young offenders into society," said Attorney-general Datin Paduka Hjh Hayati POKSDSP Hj Mohd Salleh, in a speech at the opening of the new Legal Year yesterday.
During her address at the Supreme Court building, the attorney-general also raised the need for a government agency or other suitable institution, to protect intellectual property rights (IPR), which would serve to formulate IP policies and laws.
"Strong protection and enforcement of IP rights are critical components for economic growth and development. IP theft kills innovation and creativity," said Datin Paduka Hjh Hayati, citing examples of IP bodies in Singapore, which is under the Ministry of Law, and Malaysia, which is now corporatised, as possible models to consider.
The attorney-general stated that the AGC plans to introduce an online filing system for trademarks, after pioneering an e-registry for the registration of businesses, companies and trademarks, and are consulting with international IP bodies to assist with patent rules.
Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Hj Kifrawi Dato Paduka Hj Kifli also alluded to the potential establishment of a Bankruptcy Office, which would have its own lawyers and accountants, to deal with the sharp increase in bankruptcy cases, which have more than doubled since 2005.
President of the Law Society Pg Izad Ryan PLKD Pg Hj Bahrin echoed this call, saying that additional resources for bankruptcy work would be of "great help".
"As can be seen by the statistics, the magistrates and registrars take on a heavy workload in their respective court work, and do so under great time pressure. This is in addition to taking on the substantial number of bankruptcy matters," he said.
The AGC also introduced new laws, including the Arbitration Order and The International Arbitration Order, which allow certain matters to be mediated outside of court by an arbiter who has the authority to issue a final and binding decision.
Legislative Council member Dato Paduka Hj Idris Hj Abas also highlighted the issue at the sixth session of the Legislative Council meeting yesterday, saying that Brunei needs to establish an arbitration centre to deal with such matters, commenting that "you cannot hold trial if there is no court".
There was also an amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act, which authorises the Anti-Corruption Bureau to investigate any offences under written law, and legally obliges the public to give information on any subject.
The Brunei Times
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
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