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Have you ever watched Suits or the Lincoln Lawyer and noticed that the person sitting in the judge's chair holds significantly more power than the lawyers? Are you passionate about doing more than just abiding by the law but also influencing its course? If so, you should consider becoming a judge!

Who is a Judge?

As a judge, you hold a crucial role within the judicial system, overseeing court proceedings and evaluating cases based on evidence and witness testimonies. Following careful deliberation, you deliver judgments, rulings, or sentences to convicted individuals.

Previously in Malaysia, the judge shared the responsibility of making a judgment with a jury but this practice has long been abolished. This makes the judge a key player in the judiciary hence the election of a judge is done with great care.

You may ascend through the ranks according to the hierarchy of courts, starting from the High Court, followed by the Court of Appeal, and culminating in the Federal Court, with the Chief Justice of Malaysia at the helm.

What does a Judge do?

Your responsibilities as a judge encompass several crucial tasks:

  • Preside over a variety of cases, including civil, family, and criminal matters.
  • Ensure fairness in hearings and trials, upholding the laws of the country.
  • Listen attentively to testimony from witnesses, defendants, and victims.
  • Impose sentences and other penalties upon conviction.
  • Render decisions on legal cases, considering all relevant factors.
  • Determine custody arrangements in disputes.
  • Prepare for trials by reviewing documents submitted by legal teams.
  • Reach decisions in tribunals, such as employment disputes or immigration cases.
  • Facilitate settlements in civil cases before formal proceedings commence.
  • Hear appeals and review decisions made by lower courts.
  • Draft reports outlining the reasoning behind rulings.
  • Stay informed about developments in the legal field to ensure your decisions are informed and up to date.

What are some essential skills for a Judge?

To succeed in this role, you must possess a mixture of both legal and soft skills, including:

  • Knowledge of state and federal laws: You must possess a strong understanding of the law and court procedures to facilitate fair and legal trials and hearings.
  • Legal Knowledge: A comprehensive understanding of the law and legal principles is fundamental for interpreting statutes, precedent, and legal arguments.
  • Critical Thinking: You must be able to analyse complex legal issues, assess evidence, and apply legal reasoning to reach well-reasoned decisions.
  • Decision-Making: The ability to make timely and well-reasoned decisions is essential, particularly when faced with complex or contentious legal issues.
  • Communication: Strong oral and written communication skills are crucial for effectively presiding over court proceedings, explaining legal concepts, and drafting clear and concise judgments.
  • Impartiality: You must remain impartial and unbiased, setting aside personal opinions or biases to ensure fair and just outcomes.
  • Empathy: You should demonstrate empathy and understanding towards litigants, particularly in sensitive matters such as family or juvenile cases.
  • Integrity: Maintaining the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct is essential for upholding the integrity of the judiciary and public trust in the legal system.
  • Management Skills: Effective case management and time management skills are necessary for efficiently handling a caseload, scheduling hearings, and ensuring timely resolution of cases.

What is my pathway?

You would typically begin by obtaining a qualifying law degree. Upon graduating, you have various options to qualify as a practicing lawyer. One pathway is to pursue the UK Bar, a professional qualification that enables you to practice as a barrister in the United Kingdom. Alternatively, you may opt for the Malaysian Certificate in Legal Practice, which qualifies you to practice law in Malaysia.

After being admitted to the Bar, you'll need to practice law for several years to establish a strong reputation and acquire a thorough understanding of legal intricacies. Once you've demonstrated proficiency and earned good standing, you may undergo vetting processes to qualify for a judicial appointment.

If you would like to know more about how Law can be the right programme for you, click here.

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Did You Know?

Here are some quirky facts about laws and parliaments:

  • The Roman emperor Caligula made his horse a senator.
  • Though they are televised, proceedings in the British parliament are supposed to be held in private. If a member wants to have a secret session, he or she will point to the public gallery and call out "l spy strangers"’ after which the members will vote that the ‘strangers do withdraw’.