Source: Brunei News Daily

| Fadley Faisal |

THE newly elected President of the Law Society of Brunei Darussalam, On Hung Zheng, emphasised the need for clarity, certainty and finality on land ownership if the country is to be able to attract foreign and local investors and gain their confidence.

This will greatly benefit the financial sector, the construction industry and the legal profession, among other industries, he added.

During the opening of the Legal Year 2018 yesterday, On highlighted the challenges faced by the legal profession under the current economic climate, which has led to a slowdown in the property and construction related industries as well as the SME business sector, as there is a direct proportion in the profitability of these sectors to their capacity to hire counsel for legal services.

The Law Society noted the increasing number of qualified local lawyers in Brunei, with 2017 witnessing one of the highest numbers of local admissions to the Bar, and is hopeful that they will have the support of local companies in terms of engaging their services, instead of turning to overseas law firms.

On matters of intestacy, On mentioned the unsatisfactory state of the current law governing the distribution of property of a non-Muslim who has passed away in Brunei Darussalam, pointing out that there are often different or contradicting opinions provided by experts which may result in disputes between family members, which usually end with ugly and costly litigations.

On Hung Zheng, the President of the Law Society of Brunei Darussalam, speaks during the Legal Year 2018. – RAHWANI ZAHARI

On reminded members of the Law Society that theirs is a noble profession in which they must uphold to the highest ethics and practice standards.

“The profession must not only be able to administer justice but also do justice to the profession,” On added.

The President of the Law Society also announced the re-commencement of the legal aid clinic and expressed his hope that the authorities could consider the establishment of a legal aid fund to help the less fortunate members of the public in both criminal and civil cases.

On also mentioned the Law Society’s mutual concern with AMBD with regard to damages awarded for personal injury claims, which Brunei ranks highest regionally.

“A balance must be struck between the appropriate amount of compensation given out due to an injured party and the very real possibility of every amount of damages being awarded,” On stressed.