+974 4491 1404 |  Email Us

Rt. Hon. Tun Arifin bin Zakaria


The Rt. Hon. Tun Arifin Bin Zakaria was born on 1 October 1950. He completed his early education at the Sultan Ibrahim Primary and Secondary School and continued his secondary education at the Sultan Ismail College, both in Kelantan. He read law at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, graduating with honours in 1974. Upon graduation, he joined the Judicial and Legal Service in September 1974.

In 1979, he pursued Master of Laws course at University College, London and concurrently the Bar Final Course at the Council of Legal Education. In June 1980, he was called to the English Bar at Lincoln’s Inn and, in the same year, he was awarded the LLM degree by University of London.

Prior to his elevation to the High Court Bench of Malaysia, His Lordship served in various capacities in the Judicial Office and the Legal Department of the Government of Malaysia. He served as a Magistrate, President of the Sessions Court, Senior Assistant Registrar of the High Court, Federal Counsel and Senior Federal Counsel, Legal Advisor to Ministry of Primary Industries, Legal Advisor to the Public Services Department, Legal Advisor to the State of Malacca and Perak, Deputy Parliamentary Draftsman and Senior Federal Counsel of the Inland Revenue Department. On 1 March 1992, His Lordship was appointed as the Judicial Commissioner of the High Court of Malaya and, two years later, he was appointed as a High Court Judge of Malaya. In 2002, His Lordship was elevated to the Court of Appeal. In 2005, he was further elevated to the Federal Court. On 18 October 2008, he was appointed as Chief Judge of the High Court of Malaya. On 12 September 2011, he was appointed as the Chief Justice of Malaysia in which he served until his retirement on 31 March 2017.

As Chief Justice, he continued to improve the efficiency of the judiciary. He promoted the use of information technology in the courts. Cases from Sabah and Sarawak awaiting a response from the Court of Appeal were expedited with the introduction of video conferencing, while court rooms were upgraded with the installation of the Court Recording and Transcription (CRT) facility. The CRT, which is part of the e-court system, was introduced in 2009 to expedite the hearings of cases in courts. It also included the e-filing component to enable electronic filing. In 2014 the e-court finance system was introduced, enabling the public to make payments online or through kiosks.

New Commercial Courts, first set up in Kuala Lumpur when Tun Arifin was Chief Judge of Malaya, saw commercial cases being disposed within nine months from the date of filing. In 2011, Tun Arifin established the dedicated Environmental Court as part of the Sessions and Magistrates Courts. In 2013, Tun Arifin set up another specialised court, the Construction Court, in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam. In 2014, he oversaw the establishment of the Coroner’s Court. With the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April 2015, the Anti-Profiteering Court was set up in Kuala Lumpur.

Tun Arifin headed the committee drafting the Rules of Court 2012, combining the Rules of Court for both the High Court and Subordinate Courts as part of the continuing reform of practice and procedure, thus simplifying and streamlining the prevailing civil procedure. The other notable contribution by him is the establishment of court-annexed mediation throughout the country, an effort to expedite disposal of cases and to reduce the cost of litigation.

Tun Arifin now sits as an arbitrator in a wide variety of commercial and international disputes, and is on the Panel of Arbitrators at the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC) in Kuala Lumpur.

Academic Qualifications:

Law Degree, University of Sheffield (1974)

LLM, University College London (1980)

Professional Qualifications:

Called to the Bar of Malaysia 1980

Called to the Bar of England & Wales (Lincoln’s Inn) 1980

Appointments and Professional Memberships:

  • 1974-1992 – Served in various capacities within Malaysia’s Judicial and Legal Service:

-         Magistrate
-         President of the Sessions Court
-         Senior Assistant Registrar of the High Court
-         Federal Counsel
-         Senior Federal Counsel
-         Legal Advisor to Ministry of Primary Industries
-         Legal Advisor to the Public Services Department
-         Legal Advisor to the State of Malacca and Perak
-         Deputy Parliamentary Draftsman
-         Senior Federal Counsel to the Inland Revenue Department

  • 1992 – Appointed as Judicial Commissioner of the High Court of Malaya
  • 1994 – Appointed as High Court Judge of Malaya
  • 2002 – Appointed as Court of Appeal Judge
  • 2005 – Appointed to the Federal Court
  • 2008 – Appointed as Chief Judge of the High Court of Malaya
  • 2011-2017 – Served as the Chief Justice of Malaysia
  • 2015 – Editor-in-chief of the Malaysian Civil Procedure White Book (Sweet & Maxwell)
  • 2016 – Editor-in-chief of Arbitration in Malaysia: A Practical Guide (Sweet & Maxwell)

Other Appointments include:

  • Member of the UN Environment Programme’s International Advisory Council for Environmental Justice
  • Co-Chair of the UN Environment Programme’s World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability
  • Patron of Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute
  • Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission
  • President of the Inns of Court Malaysia
  • Member of the Advisory Board of Editors of Current Law Journal
  • Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Law, University Teknologi MARA
  • Adjunct Professor at Ahmad Ibrahim Kullyah of Laws, International Islamic University
  • Adjunct Professor at Faculty of Law & International Relations, University Sultan Zainal Abidin

Practice Areas:

Commercial and International Dispute Resolution

Further details of specific practice areas and experience can be obtained by emailing: office@mcnairchambers.com

Publication:

Some of Tun Arifin’s articles and speeches were published by various publishers as follows:

  • Justice Above All Selected Judgments of Tun Arifin Bin Zakaria with Commentaries.' [Sweet & Maxwell 2017];
  • A Matter of Justice Selected Articles and Speeches” [The Malaysian Current Law Journal Sdn Bhd. 2017];
  • Tun’s Arifin speech at the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year 2017 was published in Journal of The Malaysian Judiciary, January 2017;
  • Article entitled “The Rule of Law” adapted from Tun Arifin’s speech at the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year 2016 was published in Journal of The Malaysian Judiciary, July 2016;
  • Article entitled “Judicial Attitudes Towards Malaysian Common Law Post 1956” adapted from Tun Arifin’s keynote address at the 3rd International Seminar on Syariah and Common Law 2015, USIM was published in Journal of The Malaysian Judiciary, July 2016;
  • The Promotion and Protection of Citizen’s Constitutional Rights”, Bali Indonesia, 2016;
  • Ucapan Balas Penerima Ijazah Kehormat Undang-Undang sempena Istiadat Konvokesyen Universiti Teknologi MARA ke 84”, UiTM, 2016.
  • Article entitled “Supporting Development of Pro Bono” adapted from Tun’s Arifin presentation at the Biennial Conference of Chief Justices of Asia and Pacific 2013 was published in book entitled “Core Values of an Effective Judiciary” [Academy Publishing, Singapore Academy of Law 2015];
  • Sustainable Development Goals and Effective Environmental Compliance and Enforcement: Building and Strengthening Institutions”, Singapore, 2015;
  • "Judicial Attitudes Towards Malaysian Common Law Post 1956", USIM, 2015;
  • Constitutional Complaint as An Instrument for Protecting Fundamental Rights of Citizen”, Jakarta, 2015.
  • Enhanced MLTIC Web Cluster and MLTIC National Forum on Free “Access to Law in Malaysia”, Malaya University, 2014;
  • Judicial Reform and Improvement of Investment Environment”, Nanning China, 2014;
  • Keynote Address: The International Conference on Law, Order and Criminal Justice”, IIUM, 2014;
  • Methods of Interpretation in Constitutional Justice”, Turkey, 2014.
  • Article entitled “Recent Reforms in The Legal Framework of Islamic Finance in Malaysia: Court’s Perspective", IIUM Law Journal 2013.
  • Review of ICT implementation Mechanism in Judiciary of Malaysia”, Bukhara, 2013;
  • Fostering an Efficient and Competent Legal Profession to Support the Court Development of Pro Bono Civil and Criminal Proceedings: Malaysian Perspective”, Singapore, 2013;
  • Recent Reforms in The Legal Framework of Islamic Finance in Malaysia: Court’s Perspective”, IIUM, 2013.
  • Malaysian Perspective on Human Rights and Freedom In 21st Century and The Role of Court, Turkey, 2012.
  • World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, 2012;
  • The Malaysian Perspective on Human Rights and Freedom In 21st Century and The Role of Court, Turkey, 2012;
  • Syarahan Perdana Integriti 2012 "Rule of Law and Judicial System”, Institut Integriti;
  • Environmental Law an Overview, UiTM, 2012.

Honours:

  • Darjah Seri Setia Mahkota Malaysia (Persekutuan) S.S.M (02.06.2012)
  • Darjah Panglima Setia Mahkota (Persekutuan) P.S.M (06.06.2009)
  • Darjah Kebesaran Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (Kelantan)
  • S.P.M.K (11.11.2014)
  • Darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Selangor (Selangor) S.P.M.S (11.12.2012)
  • Darjah Kebesaran Seri Paduka Setia Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Terbilang
  • (Kelantan) S.P.S.K (30.03.2005)
  • Darjah Seri Paduka Cura Si Manja Kini (Perak) S.PC.M (22.05. 2012)
  • Darjah Kebesaran Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang Sri Sultan Ahmad Shah
  • Pahang (Pahang) S.S.A.P (24.10.2012)
  • Darjah Utama Pangkuan Negeri (Pulau Pinang) D.U.P.N (14.07.2012)
  • Darjah Kebesaran Seri Panglima Darjah Kinabalu (Sabah) S.P.D.K (03.10.2015)
  • Darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Perak (Perak) S.P.M.P (19.04.2010)
  • Darjah Dato' Paduka Mahkota Kelantan (Kelantan) D.P.M.K (30.03.1999)
  • Darjah Dato' Paduka Cura Simanja Kini (Perak) D.P.C.M (19.04.1988)
  • Honorary Doctorate in Law, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin
  • Doctor of Law, University Teknologi MARA
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Law, International Islamic University Malaysia
  • Honorary Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn.

© McNair Chambers LLC 2008-2021 | Legal Notices | Client Complaints | Privacy & Cookie Policy

To Top