Legal Highlights (20 March 2017 – 24 March2017)
Green light for separation of Judicial and Legal Service Commission The proposal to separate the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (“the Commission”) has been accepted by the Cabinet. It was proposed that the Legal Services be led by the Attorney-General while the Judicial Services be supervised by the Chief Registrar of Federal Court. The current set-up of the Commission whereby all prosecutors and subordinate court judges are under the purview of the Commission headed by the Attorney-General would create conflict of interests.
Bursa: Feedback on ISSB-NT framework Bursa Malaysia has invited the public to give feedback on the newly issued consultation paper on Islamic Securities Selling and Buying Negotiated Transaction (ISSB-NT) framework (“the Framework”). The Framework encourages the development of syariah-compliant securities by providing a syariah-compliant alternative to the securities borrowing and lending negotiated transaction framework. The consultation period ends on 19 April 2017.
India: Rivers with human status The High Court in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, India has granted the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers the status of living human entities. The legal status of the rivers is to prevent pollution as such acts would now amount to crime akin to harming a human being. Two legal guardians have been appointed to represent the rivers' rights.
Pakistan: Secret military courts to be reinstated A law (“the Law”) enabling the reinstatement of the secret military courts was passed by the lower house of Pakistan and is pending the approval of the Senate. Under the original system, the defendants are not entitled to legal representation of their choice, no media are allowed to observe proceedings, the timing of trials remained confidential until a verdict is pronounced, no right to appeal against rulings, and the presiding judges do not have to be legally qualified and to give reasons for their verdict. The Law has proposed several changes to the existing system, including allowing suspects to choose their own lawyer.
Singapore: IVF mix-up The Singapore Court of Appeal ("the Court") held that the woman involved in an in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) mix-up case is entitled to compensation as she was found to have suffered a loss of "genetic affinity". However, the Court emphasised that the child should not be regarded as a "continuing source of loss" to the parents. This case involved an IVF mix-up whereby the sperm of a stranger was used to fertilise the woman's eggs, instead of the husband's.