KUALA LUMPUR: Small legal practices need to adopt the latest technologies to remain competitive alongside major firms and foreign lawyers if the Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill 2012 tabled in parliament on Wednesday is passed.
"It's timely for local firms to tap into this (technological) development and also to grow in tandem with information technology," said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong after launching the Legal Technology 2012 Exhibition and Forum at Putra World Trade Centre yesterday.
"I fear if they don't do that, especially the smaller firms, they will be left out of the nation's progress," he said, adding that though it may be costly, it will be beneficial in the long run.
However, Liew said the smaller firms would be protected by the Bar Council, as the body was one of those directly involved in formulating the rules and regulations for the amendment.
He said the amendment would only apply to Islamic financing, a US$100 billion (RM318.7b) industry, and did not involve other facets of law such as tort, criminal or civil.
He said Malaysia's courts were already adopting newer technologies such as e--filing and e--billing, as well as video conferencing for situations where law firms are located far from courtrooms.
Meanwhile, imprisonment for those unsuccessful in committing suicide were among the roughly 60 "archaic" laws still being examined, said Liew, who also chairs the Law Reform Committee.
Referring to Section 309 of the Penal Code, which states that those guilty of attempted suicide will face imprisonment of up to one year, a fine, or both, Liew said though he was sympathetic with those who were suicidal, there had to be a deterrent.
"Law 309 was there since the British were with us," he said, adding that the reason why the law was instituted in the first place would have to be carefully examined before it could be changed.