A mere 18 - 21 months ago, a majority of various legal system stakeholders in Peninsular Malaysia were declaring that an e-system for Courts, be it online hearings or the e-review system was a “long term project” that could not be facilitated in the short term. In fact, in November 2019 when the Courts announced the launch of the E-review system on EFS Kehakiman, lawyers up and down the Peninsular were stating that it would be a “nice addition” but could not fully replace traditional physical case managements. They said it would be slowly integrated and only become mainstream in five-years’ time (i.e. by 2024). Oh, how the tables have turned especially due to the necessity to adapt to the COVID 19-Pandemic.
Online hearings since then have become a norm, with E-Review as the main method of case management and the use of QR codes to ensure authenticity of court documents. This E-volution has been spurred on and greatly assisted by an efficient and forward-thinking court system.
Keeping with the trend of moving legal proceedings online, the courts have now introduced their latest innovation: the e-Execution system.
According to the Chief Registrar, the E-Execution system allows for execution documents such as Notice of Vacant Possession of Premises, Bailiff Reports and Vacant Possession handing over forms to be done via an e-Form. Further, the Bailiff in charge of a case will be uploading the relevant documents upon visiting a premise directly onto the case management system and can email the same to the lawyer or agency in charge of the execution proceedings.
This is a huge boost to execution proceedings. Bailiffs are extremely busy and are sometimes stretched thin. By allowing for contemporaneous uploading of execution proceeding documents (i.e., the documents posted on a premise) the Bailiffs need not prepare further reports and the Court, and parties can know the exact time and date of the posting. This way, there is no argument on whether the Bailiff did attend to the premise and no argument as to the date and time of posting. In addition, the documents are directly filed into the Court records. This avoids issues of human error where documents may be misplaced or damaged.
There is also the added benefit of reducing contamination and exposure to COVID-19 as lawyers or personnel need not physically attend to attest the posting of the documents.
Furthermore, the E-Execution system documents will have QR Codes stamped onto them to ensure its validity and authenticity. In the past, scammers have used fake documents to cheat people into forking out sums to fake Bailiffs to avoid their property being seized. The QR Code stamped with case information makes it harder for fraudsters to get away with such a scam.
Based on the media statement by Chief Registrar’s Office, the E-Execution system is to be rolled out in the Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam High Courts. It is worth noting that there is a high concentration of lawyers practicing out of the Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley areas and that the Selangor region had previously consistently posted high numbers of Covid cases. It would therefore make sense to limit unnecessary exposure by trialing the system in these places. In addition, the high concentration of cases would allow for better testing and more accurate feedback.
Nevertheless, there has been no mention on how long this trial period is to last. We will have to wait and see for more directions from the Courts on this matter.
The future is bright for law and technology. Lawyers and legal justice system personnel, so often, reluctantly accept technological innovation in a legal practice steeped in tradition. The COVID-19 pandemic has now forced the same naysayers to adapt to these technological changes. This author applauds the experimentation of the e-Execution system and looks forward to the Courts making this mainstream.
 On how QR codes are being used to ensure authenticity, please read more here https://efs.kehakiman.gov.my/EFSWeb/Content/data/UserGuide/BrochureQR.pdf
 The media statement can be accessed here http://www.kehakiman.gov.my/sites/default/files/Kenyataan%20Media%20-%20Pelaksanaan%20Sistem%20e-Execution%20Secara%20Rintis%20di%20Mahkamah%20Kuala%20Lumpur%20dan%20Mahkamah%20Shah%20Alam.pdf?utm_source=BC0621&utm_campaign=c74770846c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2021_06_03_04_34&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fedfa987bb-c74770846c-100905538