Why is the Criminal Justice Reform Underway in Brunei Darussalam?

By: Amir Amnan Junaidi
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Brunei Darussalam is an old country with rich cultural, history and heritage dating back to the 14th century. From that century until now, Brunei Darussalam has been under a hereditary monarchical government system who survive the Japanese occupation in World War II and also even when under the auspices of the British government. When Brunei Darussalam proclaimed its independence in 1st January 1984, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mui'zzaddin Waddaulah states that Brunei Darussalam will forever be a nation of Malay Islamic Monarchy. Even before the independence of Brunei Darussalam from British government, the legal pluralism in the criminal justice system is being practiced in the country. Therefore, Brunei Darussalam has two major courts such as civil court and Syariah court in handling the any offences in Brunei Darussalam. However, majority of the major criminal offences such as theft will be handled by the civil court whereas the Syariah court only handles religious criminal offences such as suspicious proximity (Khalwat). The function of these systems will be explained further in the paper. However, the objective of this study is to find the reasons as to why there is the need to change the current criminal justice system in Brunei Darussalam and how it will be implemented.

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