The Lahore High Court is working since last more than one hundred and fifty years. This is a constitutional court with powers and jurisdiction provided under the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 and other laws for the time being in force. The Court has also to superintend the courts in the province subordinate to it in accordance with Article 203 of the Constitution. As part of third organ of the State, the Court has original, revisional, review and appellate jurisdictions. Earlier on, there was no system of law/judicial research. Through the establishment of the Research Centre, the judicial research has been introduced in the system of provincial judiciary. The Research Centre was established in 2012 to provide research-based inputs to the queries of the Hon'ble Judges in different matters pending before them. The idea was to appoint research Officers to assist the Hon'ble Judges to provide them research based response in the matters pending before them. This is not judicial / law clerkship as is the practice in other advanced countries like USA. However, the aim to establish the Centre is to lead us towards the legal research system over the period of time. The informal activity of the Centre was started in July 2011 when Mr. Sher Hassan Pervaiz, Civil Judge-cum-Judicial Magistrate, was appointed as Research Officer in the High Court. After successful experiment of the assignment, Hon'ble Chief Justice Mr. Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed was pleased to direct the establishment of the first-of-its-kind Research Centre in the High Court. Under this direction, the Library Committee of the High Court consisting of Hon'ble Mr. Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah pursued the matter and practical steps were initiated to establish a full-fledged Research Centre. It was decided that the research Officers will be appointed from amongst the judicial officers having flair for legal research/writing and having done their Post-Graduation in law (LLM). Therefore, the civil judges throughout Punjab province with LLM degree were interviewed by a Committee constituted by the Hon'ble Chief Justice. The Interview Committee consisted of the following:
- Mr. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah Hon'ble Judge, Lahore High Court - Chairman
- Mr. Sohail Nasir Registrar, Lahore High Court - Member
- Mr. Javed Rashid Mahboobi District and Sessions Judge (Inq., R&D) - Member
The Committee interviewed 42 civil judges and out of them following four civil judges were selected as pioneer Research Officers to be appointed in the Research Centre (apart from Mr. Sher Hassan Pervaiz who was already working as Research Officer):
- Muhammad Amir Munir Civil Judge 1st Class/Judicial Magistrate s.30
- Nadeem Ahmad Sohail Cheema Civil Judge 1st Class/Judicial Magistrate s.30
- Rai Muhammad Khan Civil Judge 1st Class/Judicial Magistrate s.30
- Nadir Hussain Shah Civil Judge-cum-Judicial Magistrate
The Research Centre was formally inaugurated by Hon'ble Chief Justice Mr. Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed on Friday, the 27th January, 2012. Hon'ble Judges of this Court at the Principal Seat, the Registrar, the District & Sessions Judge (Inq., R&D) and other Officers of the Court also participated in the inaugural ceremony. Later on, a post of Senior Research Officer (BPS-20) was created in the month of September 2012. Mr. Sohail Shafiq, Additional District & Sessions Judge, Lahore was appointed as first Senior Research Officer (SRO), who assumed the charge of the said post on 17.09.2012. The Research Centre has been housed in the Old Library situated in the basement of the High Court building. The purpose to house the Centre in library was to facilitate the Research Officers towards easy access to the conventional research materials, i.e., books, law journals, law reporters and other materials available in the library. At the same time, the Centre has been fully equipped with the latest computers and DSL internet facility. Thus, the Research Officers have both conventional and modern tools and materials to provide a quality oriented research based feedback to the Hon'ble Judges for the legal questions formulated by their lordships. The Centre has also developed a Court Query Manager (CQM) with technical and logistical assistance of the Computer Cell of the High Court. The CQM system will provide the Hon'ble Judges of this Court an easy access to the Research Centre through computers in their court rooms. The legal question or query from the Court can be sent to the Centre by using this system. The Senior Research Officer (SRO) receives the query through the CQM and allocates the same to one of the Research Officers to start research work on it. Once the memo is prepared by the SRO/RO, it can be sent back by using the same software. The CQM system also helps the administration to look into the quantitative aspect of the queries being generated by the Courts and responded by the Centre. On the environmental side, it has reduced the use of paper. Hopefully, one day it will lead us towards a zero-paper regime. In accordance with the vision of Hon'ble Chief Justice Mr. Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed and able guidance of Mr. Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Mr. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah (Library Committee), the Research Officers of the Centre are actively participating in the research and development activities in the field of law and justice by participating in different workshops, seminars, conferences etc. Likewise, the Centre encourages the Research Officers to write quality papers, participate and present in the Conferences both at national and international level and to become part of relevant organizations and sister bodies. This is to develop the capacity of the Centre to cater the needs of the future in accordance with its aims and objectives. At present, the Centre is in its evolutionary stage. Thus, in the coming months and years, and subject to available resources, it will define its ways so that it can not only provide a research support to the Hon'ble Judges of this Court but also become a research and development (R&D) backbone of the judiciary in the Punjab. The Centre aims at producing quality research papers on different issues of justice sector, preparing bench books for judiciary, providing empirical studies and analysis of data relating to justice sector institutions, publishing of books, journals, newsletters and research papers relating to issues of access to justice and judicial administration, so that quality of justice administered in the courts is improved.
Establishment of Right—Search and Research of Truth: The Centre aims at conducting interdisciplinary healthy, organic, result oriented research reflecting justice and fair-play; getting orientation from advancement in all fields of life; accepting challenges of modern times in the field of justice; working towards creating a healthy environment by providing environmental friendly inputs; using all modern tools of conducting research while keeping a link with the conventional sources of knowledge and working towards improvement in quality of justice administered.
Keeping in view the mission statement, the Objectives of the Centre will be to:
- Provide research based assistance to Hon'ble Judges on legal and judicial questions;
- Work for establishing a judicial assistance-ship system at the level of district judiciary;
- Conduct research into different legal and judicial areas for development of laws and judiciary;
- Provide historical, analytical and empirical studies for judicial policy making;
- Organize seminars, workshops, training and educational programs for judiciary;
- Arrange training of trainers (TOT) programs for the Research Officers for their capacity building;
- Prepare and publish books, journals, research papers, bench-books, newsletters and other materials for judiciary and justice system stakeholders;
- Provide research backbone to the district judiciary;
- Establish an online networking system for the district judiciary in the Punjab;
- Establish and maintain a list of resource persons for outsourcing the work of the Centre;
- Create liaison and linkages with other institutions and sister organizations working at national, regional and international levels;
- Actively participate in academic and research activities, workshops, seminars and conferences to equip and update the Centre and the judiciary about the current developments and trends in the legal and justice systems around the globe;
- Establish and maintain an inter-active website for general public and members of judiciary.
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (SOPs):For Research Officers, the following SOPs have been defined: a. For Court Query Manager:
- The query generated by a Court will be sent to the Centre in writing either through CQM (login & passwords have been provided to the Private Secretaries attached with the Hon'ble Courts), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in print. It is necessary as oral communication may result in misdirected research;
- Reasonable time will be given to the Centre for responding to the query so that proper study on the issue/question can be done by the Research Officer. The experience shows that at least TWO working days are required for preparing a standard research memo. If the Research Officer(s) need(s) more time to complete the task, a formal request to the referring Hon'ble Court will be made by him;
- The queries coming to the Centre will be allocated to one of the Research Officers by the Senior Research Officer (In-charge of the Centre) including himself; in case the Research Officer is on leave or busy in some urgent/direction work assigned to him or is away from the Centre for any other reason, the query may be re-allocated to any other Research Officer(s). Keeping in view the importance and nature of the work, a query may be allocated to more than one Research Officers;
- Every query will be entered into the Court Query Manager (CQM) so that the response is available to Hon'ble Judges through CQM at the computers in the court rooms;
- The Research Officer to whom the query will be allocated will prepare his memo in standard A4 size paper in the format attached with this note. The memo will be on yellow paper as per sample. Every memo will be numbered automatically by the CQM and said number should be reflected on the printed copy, if any, for ready reference (sample Memo is at Annex-A);
- Each memo will provide details of the Court from where the query has been originated; subject of the query; date of query; query deadline, if any; name of the Research Officer(s); keywords, memo containing the gist of the research; references to the judgments and research materials and may also contain other documents necessary for the perusal of Hon'ble Court;
- The Research Officer may seek meeting with the Hon'ble Judge in case further guidance is required for a focused research on the required query;
- The CQM will automatically generate the electronic results for perusal of Hon'ble Judges for all the queries responded by the Centre so that the database is available for any future use by any other honorable Court interested in any such topic responded by the Centre;
- The computer cell will remain in touch with the Centre for any up-gradation of the CQM on need basis; on monthly basis, the Centre will discuss IT related issues with the Computer Cell of the High Court so that not only the present system is properly sustained but developmental issues can come under discussion for improvement of the same;
- The CQM will also generate automated reports for perusal of the Administration of the High Court to judge the performance of the Centre and Research Officers;
- Every query/question/legal proposition allocated to a research Officer will be properly understood by him. In case of any confusion, the RO will seek time from the Hon'ble Judge to discuss the issue and to refine/clear the question to be answered for a focused research;
- To ensure the quality of research, the Research Officer will study relevant laws, rules, statutes, cases of the Hon'ble Supreme Court and the Hon'ble High Courts and other literature, as and when required, and will prepare a Memo of his study. Where necessary, the relevant law, rules and regulations have to be quoted. The RO will trace the original sources and references will be made accordingly.
- For case law, it will be incumbent upon the Research Officer to study the case/precedent with full detail and thereafter he will write the brief gist of the case along with the law point / ratio decidendi declared in the said precedent. He will also link up his study with the moot point under probe. Mere reproduction of head-notes has to be avoided to ensure that the RO has gone through the contents of the case himself and has understood the material before it is reproduced in the memo.
- A separate paragraph may be written about those cases where the moot point is discussed as a passing remark just to establish that the researcher has an eye on the horizontal breadth of the issue under discussion. However, the decision to include such material will lie on the researcher so as to save the time of the Hon'ble Courts from unnecessary reading of the material.
- Each query is answered in Georgia font (size 12) with 1.5 Line & Paragraph spacing.
- Books, journals and other materials will be quoted after study of the original materials. Where necessary, the soft copy of online material may be attached with the memo for ready reference. Hard copy of memo, if required, must be supported by the material referred into the memo. There is no need to send the law reports with the memo. The Court concerned will itself call the books from library, if so desire.
- References of case law will follow the style of citation which is followed by the law reporter itself. This is necessary as every country has different law reporters and every law reporter has different citation style. Online citations will also be followed as per suggested by the website itself.
- Examples: For traditional law reporters: Farzana Rasool v. Dr. Muhammad Bashir, 2011 SCMR 1361 Ghulam Sarsar Khan v. Mst. Goher Sultan, PLD 1992 SC 225 M/S Ghandhara Industries Ltd v. Government of Pakistan, 1982 Law Notes (Karachi) 166 It would be pertinent to mention that page number has to be referred, where necessary in the following format: Farzana Rasool v. Dr. Muhammad Bashir, 2011 SCMR 1361, 1364. For online resources: Citation style will be the same as mentioned above. However, where necessary, the website address has to be given with dates of visit mentioned in parenthesis after the webpage link. For example: Shabbir Ahmad v. Kiran Khursheed, (visited 23.5.2012) 7. References/citations of books, journals, magazines, newspapers, etc., will be made in accordance with the Blue Book citation style to bring uniformity in style of the memos generated by the Centre. Following websites can be looked into for citing legal/judicial materials:
- Each Research Officer will be provided a topic/subject;
- Research Officers may also come up with proposal for topics of their own choice for the purpose;
- Once assigned the topic and after reading relevant materials, case laws and literature, compilation of work will be done by the Officer;
- A working paper will be floated by the Research Officer(s) in this regard.
- Working paper will also be submitted to launch online bench-books for the Hon'ble Judges and the members of district judiciary, as the case may be;
- Every Research Officer has to produce at least two research papers of publishable quality relating to any topic of law, administration of justice, rule of law, future of law, law and information technology, ADR, environmental law, special laws, procedural justice, jurisprudence including therapeutic jurisprudence, civil and criminal laws, economic and social analysis of law, international laws including the international criminal law, human rights, women and juvenile issues, delays in justice, independence and separation of judiciary, problems of district judiciary, capacity building issues of judiciary, training and education of judiciary, training needs assessment and any other topic of interest;
- These articles may be published by the Research Centre or the Officer may consider getting it published by a recognized local, national or international journal in relevant field;
- The research published by the Officers will be peer reviewed (as is international best practice) to ensure the quality of the work done;
- Research Officers may also venture to write books on different topics in furtherance of aims and objectives of the Centre either individually or in collaboration with other research Officers/judicial officers etc.
- After peer review, these may also be published by the Research Centre for wider readership and record purposes.
- Research Centre will also collaborate with relevant bodies to provide capacity building of Research Officers to enable them to write quality research papers;
- The information of any relevant activity will be brought into the knowledge of the Library Committee through proper channel;
- To meet the codal formalities and to obtain necessary permission, a note will be submitted highlighting the importance of the event and why and how the participation of the Research Officer will benefit the Centre and the High Court;
- If the Research Officer has to read and present a paper, the summary of paper will be submitted with the note;
- Costs, logistics and source of funding will be provided;
- On return from the activity, and within a week, a written report will be submitted by the Research Officer(s) along with any proposals that can be considered by the Administration for any future action for development of the justice system.
- The Centre will prepare a draft Application Form in due course of time to be used by the Research Officers in this regard.
- The Centre will also arrange capacity building of the Research Officers to make them able to present at conferences, seminars and other programs through use of PowerPoint / multimedia.
- A working paper will be submitted by the Research Centre for workability of the idea and its implementation. The purpose of a newsletter will be to keep the district judiciary updated on different current issues of interest including the highlights of latest judgments, activities of the judiciary, information about conferences, seminars, scholarships and other relevant activities etc. This will also work as a source of judicial education to the members of district judiciary.
- The Research Centre will publish this newsletter on regular basis. It will be distributed to all the members of the judiciary in Punjab particularly and to other stakeholders of justice system generally.
- The Editorial board will be constituted keeping in view the HEC criteria to ensure the quality of the journal. The journal-proposed will be peer reviewed journal of international standards.
- This journal will aim at publishing high quality research papers, articles, book reviews etc., written by the Hon'ble Judges, judicial officers, academics, judicial educators, and other researchers for dissemination of knowledge and developments in the field of law and administration of justice.
- The journal may also publish conference proceedings relating to law and justice.
- The journal will provide a forum to explore and exploit the research potential within the judiciary through research. It will be an innovative step in this regard.
- A proposal/working paper will be prepared by the Centre in this regard.
- The Centre will put up Working Papers in this regard for appropriate decision by the Competent Authority.
- The research officers/associates of law/judicial clerks around the world will be contacted for looking into the opportunity of exchange of resources and materials for capacity building and expanding the outreach of the Centre.
- Initially, the introduction part of this paper will be immediately uploaded on the website of the Lahore High Court by creating a separate link with the name "Research Centre". The logo and pictures of inaugural ceremony and the Centre will also be published online simultaneously.
- For online interactive website window for judicial officers of the Punjab, a separate working paper will be submitted.
- The research Centre will work with the Computer Cell to develop and maintain the website. A working paper will be prepared by the Centre for contents/materials to be uploaded.
- The Centre will come up with proposal/working paper for a suitable TOT / capacity building program, as and when required.
- The Research Centre may conduct training needs assessment (TNA) of the district judiciary to look into the areas where training or education is required;
- Interaction with the judicial academies within and outside the country will be established for developing linkage programs;
- The judicial education programs will be in addition and supplemental to the training programs of the Punjab Judicial Academy.
- The Centre may host conferences, seminars, training programs for the judicial officers on different topics where the Centre proposes the need of training as per TNA.
- The Centre will also work to prepare training modules and courses for different training programs of judiciary.
- Centre will provide research based materials and will also arrange TOT programs for judicial educators so that quality judicial education is ensured.