9 Upcoming Judicial Reforms for 2020

Today was the Opening of the Legal Year 2020 for Malaysia. This annual ceremony would see speeches delivered by the heads of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Malaysian Bar and the Judiciary.

Pic credit: bernama.com

 

The Chief Justice of Malaysia, Tan Sri Tengku Maimun binti Tuan Mat, set out in her speech the upcoming reforms to the judicial system. I cover nine of the areas below, ranging from limiting appeals on interlocutory applications, environmental law provisions and the full digitalisation of courts.

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Top 5 Arbitration Cases in Malaysia for 2019

This is the final part of the trilogy on top 5 company law cases, restructuring and insolvency cases, and arbitration cases in Malaysia for 2019.

This feature covers the range from an anti-arbitration injunction, stay of winding up proceedings pending arbitration to a setting aside of an interim measure in aid of arbitration. The cases below will refer to the Arbitration Act 2005 (AA 2005).

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Case Update: Federal Court Finds that Adjudication Only Applies Prospectively to Construction Contracts

The Federal Court in its grounds of judgment dated 16 October 2019 in Jack-In Pile (M) Sdn Bhd v Bauer (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd held that the Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act 2012 (CIPAA) applies only prospectively to construction contracts. CIPAA came into effect on 15 April 2014. Therefore, CIPAA only applies to construction contracts signed after this date.

Prior to this decision, there were High Court and Court of Appeal decisions holding that CIPAA could apply retrospectively to construction contracts. So if there were unpaid amounts arising from pre-15 April 2014 construction contracts, contracting parties could invoke CIPAA, had obtained adjudication decisions and had enforced payment.

It is now uncertain what will be the impact of this Federal Court decision on already decided adjudication matters based on pre-15 April 2014 construction contracts. Continue reading

Case Update: Federal Court Decides on Final Payments Claimed in Adjudication

The Federal Court in its grounds of judgment dated 1 August 2019 in Martego Sdn Bhd v Arkitek Meor & Chew Sdn Bhd decided on important points of law on adjudication and final payments under a construction contract. The Federal Court had to decide whether the Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act 2012 (CIPAA) could apply. Further, it was also determined whether CIPAA could apply to payment disputes between an architect and client. The grounds of judgment were written by Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh FCJ.

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Federal Court Grants Anti-Arbitration Injunction to a Non-Party to the Arbitration

The Federal Court in its grounds of judgment dated 1 July 2019 reinstated the injunction of a non-party to an arbitration. The anti-arbitration injunction was made against the parties to an ongoing arbitration to restrain them from proceeding and continuing with the arbitration proceedings, pending the parallel Court proceedings.

The Federal Court ruled on the questions of law that sections 8 and 10 of the Arbitration Act 2005 (AA 2005) would not apply to a party litigant who is not a party to the arbitration agreement and/or arbitration proceedings. Section 8 of the AA 2005 essentially states that no court shall intervene in matters governed by the AA 2005. Section 10 of the AA 2005 allows for the court to stay court proceedings and refer parties to arbitration.

In this decision, the Federal Court allowed a non-party to the arbitration to resort to the Court’s inherent jurisdiction to grant an anti-arbitration injunction to restrain the arbitrating parties from proceeding with the arbitration. The test to be applied is the American Cyanamid-like test of a serious issue to be tried (or as applied in Malaysia via the Keet Gerald Francis test) instead of a higher threshold in the English High Court decision in J Jarvis v Blue Circle Dartfort Estates [2007[ EWHC 1262 (TCC).

Where there are parallel court proceedings involving some parties in an arbitration and non-parties to an arbitration, this Federal Court decision appears to favour giving primacy to the court proceedings and to allow an injunction or stay of the arbitration proceedings. Continue reading