Bar warns of threat to justice

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 January, 1999, 12:00am

Proposals to transfer many High Court civil cases to the District Court without increasing manpower would undermine justice, the Bar Association has warned.


It branded the changes under the District Court (Amendment) Bill as 'cosmetic improvements'.


'To present only the draft bill to Legco is a potentially misleading half-measure,' the body said in a submission to lawmakers.


'Unless a comprehensive code of procedures is implemented, the wholesale diversion of cases to the District Court will lead not only to delays but also to a far less efficient system of justice.' The blueprint seeks to lower the High Court workload by transferring more civil cases to the District Court.


The Bar body said 50 to 90 per cent of personal injury cases might be diverted.


'But that alone will not lead to better justice,' it said. 'Judges must be properly qualified by experience to deal with civil matters'.