LEGAL VIEWPOINT: Civil Litigation Hurdles – By Dr AbdelGadir Warsama Ghalib, Legal Counsel, Bahrain

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Dr AbdulGadir Warsama Ghalib, Legal Counsel, Bahrain

Many sources used to raise the issue of civil litigation process in most countries and the delays that litigants are regularly encountering. No doubt at all, this is a chronic & depressing question hanging on for long time. Justice must be done and must be seen to be done. Moreover, the delay of justice is a clear denial of justice. Depriving justice, for a long time, unnecessarily, equals lack of justice. Based on such old slogans, justice must be prompt and on-time, otherwise it works to the contrary and  jeopardizes the alleged rights…

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Generally speaking, civil litigation in particular is not an issue of public interest,  per se, rather it is a private issue representing a mere private personal right. Thus, any aggrieved party, in civil matters, could directly go to the civil Court to claim their rights. Civil Courts are obliged to see the case, assess evidence and give their verdict on “balance of probabilities” basis. To achieve justice and maintain equity, the procedural and evidence rules give both parties, all required time/opportunity to present their case before the Civil Court to enable it to assess the balance of probabilities ratio from what has been presented by the opposing parties..

However, delay of justice for whatever reason is not acceptable by all means. Urgent actions are needed to put the room in order. There is pressing need to revolutionize laws so as to speed up the process. Time is of essence and to achieve this,  laws must be redrafted to enable e-procedures/e-process to the maximum. This will give great help and saves time to enable a fast track counter that ultimately leads to fast verdict(s). The e-procedural process will eliminate personal intervention that could be used intentionally to delay justice. Up to date legislations are needed, in all countries, and such laws must be adopted with the direct aim of reaching fast prompt justice.

Moreover, to overcome civil litigation hurdles, there is an imminent need to increase the number of Judges. To give Judges very high-level training in the most appropriate professional way to enable them to work hard and fast. The number of cases per each Judge, is very high and unprecedented and this works against efficient fast justice.

In addition to this, there are many other logistical issues that could harmfully hamper justice such as,  inter alia, the number of Courts, accessibility of Courts, seating of parties before Courts, the know-how of officers and paralegal supporting staff, summoning procedures, capability of experts at all levels, type of witnesses, translators… etc. All, needs a real brave shake-up accompanied by major steps to streamline such positions and personnel. Above elements must work in harmony to complete each other, otherwise, the judicial and litigation process will be negatively affected.

Some advocate lawyers, in certain cases, may work to delay the process by using legal tactics. They play foul play but allowable by law, we assume that all advocate lawyers must observe and maintain required standards of professional ethics. The role of advocates, before Courts, is to serve justice and to help Courts to achieve justice. Based on this advocates, must not look for any opportunity to satisfy  their clients at the cost of serving prompt justice. Strict measures are to be observed by Courts, the Bar Associations and the advocates themselves, so as not to allow any foul plays or meaningless delaying tactics by advocates, experts, Court officers, witnesses and all the like.

To overcome the turtle race of civil litigation before Courts, there is an imminent need to look for alternative disputes resolutions (ADRs), such as arbitration, adjudication, mediation & conciliation, collection process…etc. This will help in speeding up and spreading the litigation process to a great extent. Moreover, the existence of ADRs could reinstate the confidence on the judicial system and justice in any country…

We urge all competent authorities to take all necessary measures needed to upgrade the judicial process for the sake of maintaining justice and equity… Our countries, must look for a new make-up and a new look in this venture so as to maintain justice for its people and inhabitants and, also, attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) which may fly away, if there is lack of justice or unnecessary delay of justice for any reason whatsoever.

Above all and as part of the alternatives to overcome civil litigation hurdles, we need to give a close look for considering suitable means for “collecting” the dues as and when they fall due. There are many collection companies that operate in this region. Authorizing “collection companies” to take care for collecting debts & all dues could be a very fast and effective civilized method that works away from Civil Courts to escape the above mentioned delaying processes. Giving enough opportunity for competent “collection companies” will yield fast good results that will undoubtedly help in continuing the business in a civilized friendly way for all concerned parties.

We all need to keep-it-up and stand firmly in calling for prompt and fast justice, in this venture we need to utilize and exhaust all possible means including up-to-date collection solution tactics from experienced companies and qualified dedicated staff equipped with necessary methodologies and logistics …

Justice is the foundation for governance. Justice is a constitutional right and accordingly justice needs justice by all possible legal ways and measures … However, we  need to work hard to achieve this…