Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Volunteer lawyers to clear court backlogs



Volunteer lawyers to clear court backlogs

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (BAKC) had agreed to help the Ministry of Justice clear a backlog of cases at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and provincial courts. Heng Chivoan

Volunteer lawyers to clear court backlogs

Up to 400 volunteer lawyers from the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (BAKC) will help to clear a backlog of nearly 40,000 cases by defending the rights of charged persons or prisoners, said Legal Aid Department head Var Pisey.

Pisey told The Post on Sunday that BAKC had agreed to help the Ministry of Justice clear a backlog of cases at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and provincial courts.

But volunteer lawyers would join to help settle only crimes, misdemeanours and cases involving minors.

“We also issued a notice asking our volunteer lawyers to solve [the cases] urgently because the courts in the capital and the 24 provinces are short on lawyers. Sometimes, in a day, we attend 10 cases,” he said.

Pisey said so far the organisation has helped the government settle cases at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and the provincial courts involving defending the rights of charged persons and prisoners who are poor and unable to obtain legal representation.

He said from early January to late June, volunteer lawyers had already taken up nearly 3,000 cases. BAKC has more than 200 volunteer lawyers. There are 25 courts in the capital and provinces.

“We are cooperating with the Ministry of Justice on the campaign to clear the case backlog but more volunteer lawyers are needed. So the number of lawyers involved has increased from 300 to 400 lawyers,” he said.

Pisey said the courts are the ones to ask for lawyers and the bar assigns them to help settle the cases as requested.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin told The Post on Sunday that the participation is important to speed up the process.

“Without lawyers, a hearing cannot proceed, thereby leading to a backlog. The participation of all parties, including the bar, judicial officials and drug laboratories is of extreme importance,” Malin said.

The court commission created four working groups to tackle a backlog of cases. Malin said the working groups are tallying the results across the country. When they have a final number and they will make it public at the end of this month.

Minister of Justice Koeut Rith announced the launch of the campaign to settle a backlog of cases at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and provincial courts on May 18 after facing nearly 40,000 pending criminal cases.

He expects that the campaign will reduce the backlog by 50-70 per cent in six months.

BAKC also issued a notice on June 17 for legal representation to defend cases during the campaign.

It called on its members and trainee lawyers to join in defending the rights of charged persons and prisoners.

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Inter-provincial travel ban lifted; Phnom Penh and Takmao not exempted

    The government on April 25 decided to lift the inter-provincial travel ban and the closure of tourist attractions across the country, effectively immediately. The travel ban and closures of all resorts were imposed on April 6 and 17 respectively in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19,

  • Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown extended for another week

    The government late on April 26 announced an extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province for another seven days – or longer if residents do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and the community outbreak does not subside – until May 5. According

  • Gov't mulls extension of Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown

    The Inter-ministerial National Commission for the Control and Enforcement of Lockdown held a video conference meeting on April 25 to review a draft document on the extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal province’s Takmao town. The meeting was chaired by Minister of

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a