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However, what worries legal circles is the delay in dispensing justice as court proceedings are taking much time and cases are taking longer than expected to decide. “The delays are indeed a matter of concern,” says prominent lawyer Yusuf Al Zaman.
With massive economic development taking place in the country and an increasing number of disputes regarding business contracts and deals cropping up and reaching the courts, it is imperative that justice flows at a faster pace, he said.
The large influx of foreign workers is additionally leading to an increase in crimes as well.
One of the major causes of delays in deciding court cases is the fact that the criminal as well as civil procedure codes are old and outdated as they were framed in 1990 when the country’s population was around half-a-million.
“So many changes have taken place ever since, with the population also having literally exploded, so there is the need to amend the procedure codes to make sure they help the laws and the judicial machinery cope up with the developments,” Al Zaman told this newspaper yesterday.
When told that lawyers also play their part in dragging a court case, Al Zaman said that was true only of those practitioners who were not sure of winning a case for their client.
“Good and professional lawyers, on the contrary, want the cases they are handling to be decided faster as that would add to their prestige.”
The number of bad cheque cases totaled an incredible 23,000 last year. Al Zaman said banks must also play their part in checking the menace and stop issuing cheque books to account holders who have been convicted for handing such cheques.
And the courts hearing bad cheque cases could ask the parties to reach an out-of-court settlement if the amount involved is less than QR10,000.
“If a defendant in a cheque case is willing to pay the complainant the amount involved (if it is less than QR10,000) the court can settle the dispute then and there,” said the lawyer.
This would help reduce the burden on the courts. Al Zaman, who is busy writing a book titled ‘Simplifying Judicial Procedures’ which is slated for release after Eid Al Adha, said considering that court cases were increasing in number, more courts needed to be set up and more judges were required to cope with the mounting pressure.