PUTRAJAYA: The Bar Council has called for a review of the current working conditions of judges, including remuneration and resources allocated to them.
Bar president Christopher Leong said Article 31 of the Beijing Statement of Principles of the Independence of the Judiciary in the LAWASIA Region provides that judges must receive adequate remuneration and be given appropriate terms and conditions of service.
He said the remuneration scheme for judges should not be benchmarked to the civil service because the Judiciary is not part of it.
"One of the difficulties in attracting suitable private practitioners to join the Bench is the relatively lower income of judges.
"The Bar would support a review to improve the remuneration of judges, and would be delighted to work with and support the Judiciary in this regard," said Leong, who was speaking at the Opening of the Legal Year 2014.
He pointed out the demands on the Judiciary today are greater than ever before, given the increasing number of cases along with the demand for quality and speedy written judgments.
"Well-reasoned and well-written judgments are vital, as these judgments are the means of communicating and providing understanding of the law to members of the legal profession, civil society and the business community," he said.
Leong said financial autonomy is also an essential aspect of the independence of the Judiciary.
He said it is beyond argument that a Judiciary that is independent, intelligent and has integrity is vital for the proper functioning of the rule of law.
"The Bar will always be supportive of a strong and independent Judiciary," he said.
In addition he said Article 1 of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary provides the independence of the judiciary shall be guaranteed by the State and enshrined in the Constitution or the law of the country.
"It is the duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the Judiciary." he said.