Chief Justice of Supreme Court of The Republic of Indonesia, 28 July 2020, Jakarta (virtual meeting)

Speech of Chief Justice of Republic of Indonesia



Jakarta, 28th July 2020


Assalamu Alaikum wr. wb. – May Peace Be Upon Us All

  • The Honorable, Chief Justice of Family Court of Australia, Justice William Alstergren
  • The Honorable, Non-Judicial Deputy Chief Justice of Republic of Indonesia
  • The Honorable, Chief of Religious Court Chamber of Supreme Court of Republic of Indonesia
  • The Honorable, Judge of Family Court of Australia, Justice Judith Ryan
  • The Respectable, Director General of Religious Courts and Echelon I Officials of Supreme Court of Republic of Indonesia
  • The Respectable Chief of High Religious Court and Echelon II Officials of Supreme Court of Republic of Indonesia, Team Leader of Australia Indonesia Partnership for Justice 2 (AIPJ2)
  • Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
  • In this opportunity, please allow me to express my gratitude and pride to finally meet and greet the Honorable Justice Alstergren and colleagues in the Family Court of Australia, although virtually. The Covid19 pandemic has forced us for a while to not meet directly.
  • Hopefully, this will not lessen the quality of our meeting that is based on sincere intention and spirit to build the aspired judiciary system together.

The Honorable, ladies and gentlemen...

  • In 2004, a historical agreement has been signed between the courts of two countries with the foundation of awareness on the importance of cooperation to strengthen the bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia. This cooperation is aimed to improve each country’s understanding on each other’s legal system and legal institution with the intention to improve mutual respect.
  • This relationship has been built for more than one and half of decade, multiple activities and cooperation have been organized, multiple milestones have been achieved, changes have occurred and have shown significant impact to the court capacity improvement.
  • A clear result of Supreme Court of Republic of Indonesia and Family Court of Australia cooperation is the continuously improving capacity of the court and the better access for vulnerable community to court.
  • The principle of equality before the law must start with equal access to court for all.
  • The underprivilege community, women and children, people living in remote areas, and persons with disability have now obtain equal access to all judiciaries that handle family law disputes. Legal Aid Post service, case fee waiver program, circuit court and disability-friendly services have become facilities that can be easily used by the public.

The Honorable, distinguished ladies and gentlemen...

  • In this opportunity, I would like to deliver 3 issues that we should look closely, to further follow up in the context of this cooperation.
  1. Family Court in Covid19 Pandemic
    • The spread of corona virus all over the world has entered an alarming stage. Almost all countries are going through this pandemic, the spread of this virus has taken too many lives and cause a great economic loss. This pandemic impacts greatly on social, economy, religious, education and government activities, and the court is no exception.
    • Up until today, patients with positive Covid19 in Indonesia has now reached the total of.... with death rate of.... the number is a confirmed or recorded number, it is assumed that the number is much higher than that.
    • Meanwhile, we do not know when this pandemic will end, legal cases in family disputes may happen at any time, cases continuously coming in to court. This pandemic has given a greater pressure to the lives of community that are in families.
    • The increasingly difficult economy that grows tension between spouses makes it more vulnerable, psychological condition of people who lives and stays in one house can influence and worsen the happening situation, domestic violence increase in such ways during quarantine or social limitation.
    • During this critical condition, the role of court will be highly required. Legal protection and certainty are the basic rights for all citizens which existence is non-negotiable. Therefore, the court has no option to terminate the operation. However, we should ensure the health of all judges and court apparatus who run their duties are protected.
    • In the beginning of first COVID-19 case in Indonesia, the Supreme Court took immediate measure by issuing Supreme Court Circular Letter Number 1 of 2020 on the Guideline of Task Implementation During the Prevention of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) spread in the Environment of Supreme Court and Its Subordinate Judiciaries. The circular letter regulates the implementation of official duties by working from home/residence. This work from home implementation is part of the implementation of court via e-Litigation application that has been developed based on PERMA Number 1 of 2019 on Case Administration and Hearing at Court Electronically.
    • At first, E-Court and E-Litigation were not meant to be an anticipation measure to pandemic disease such as what we are experiencing at the moment, yet more as an implementation of Supreme Court 2010 – 2035 Blue Print to be a modern judiciary. However, the momentum of having both applications’ presence in the middle of this COVID-19 pandemic bring their own “blessing” for judiciary institutions in Indonesia, especially in the handling of cases related to family dispute.
    • In adapting the new normal, Supreme Court has issued a Circular Letter Number 6 of 2020 on Work System in Supreme Court and Its Subordinate Judiciaries in the Order of New Normal, which instructs that judges and court apparatus to work by applying the standard Covid 19 prevention standard. In this SEMA, justice seekers are driven to use the e-Litigation application in the hearing of civil cases, religious civil cases and state administration cases. In addition to that, online communication media is also made as a mean of consultation;
    • Multiple administration issues and judicial technicalities especially in the handling of family cases that occur during COVID-19 pandemic time in both Indonesia and Australia can be an evaluation for us in building cooperation, exchange thoughts and experience and information to search for solution that can be implemented so that justice can serve the community.
  2. The Honorable, distinguished ladies and gentlemen...

  3. Legal Protection for Women and Children
    • In Indonesia, hundreds of thousands of divorce cases are received and settled by the courts every year. The break of marriage changes the relation of responsibility between husband and wife in fulfilling their respective obligation to each other, and in many cases, the legal implication of divorce leave more serious legal issues than the divorce itself, such as unpaid wife allowance, shared property gained during the marriage period, the right of custody and responsibility in paying the child support or allowance. Women and children become the most vulnerable party that may end up as victim in this issue.
    • In 2019, 480.618 divorce cases were registered to religious courts. 355.842 cases (74%) of that total were filed by the wife as Plaintiff. 1992 (0,41%) shared property claim cases, 1.403 (0,29%) right of custody and child support cases. While in 2019, district courts received 16.947 divorce cases, 279 (1,6%) shared property cases and 264 (1,5%) on right of custody and child support. If the average divorced couples have 2 children, at least almost one million children are affected by their parents’ divorce every year. The low rate of women and children rights cases received by courts compared to total divorce cases registered is fundamentally a good thing as it truly reflects that there are no legal violation and social justice that has issues.
    • By principle, a judge is passive in civil cases, judge is expected to be able to prioritize peace in family disputes. The break of marriage does not only put many women in vulnerable position, but also many children live continuity becomes uncertain in terms of their daily lives financial needs, health assurance and education fees, as the result of divorce. Therefore, judge must ensure that the decision made can be implemented to fulfill the basic rights that should be received by women and children affected by divorce.
    • In addition to that, the court should be able to become the means to open any communication constraints regarding women and children’s inability to access their rights, that they should receive post-divorce. The court must be able to take part in the scope of its authority in overcoming the constraint of women and children’s rights fulfillment post-divorce decision.
    • As equally important, on the aspect of implementing judge’s decision, the issue on decision execution in family law case still becomes a homework that we need to improve together. There is no effective mechanism that can assure the payment of child support/wife allowance by husband. In the dispute of custody, execution process often happen not as it should be, because of the concern of negative impact to the child.
    • In regards to providing legal protection to women in the context of trial, Supreme Court has issued a policy of Supreme Court Regulation Number 3 of 2017 on The Guideline to Adjudicate Women Against the Law. This policy is built based on the principle of respect on human dignity, non-discrimination, gender equality, equality before the law, justice, expediency and legal certainty.
    • This milestone is resulted by cooperation and dialogue between Supreme Court of Republic of Indonesia and Family Court of Australia conducted sustainably. This stipulation becomes the foundation of thought of the Supreme Court to be able to formulate a policy that may be applied effectively and efficiently in regards to civil decision execution in general and family law decision in particular, so that women and children receive legal protection and assurance to live after the divorce.

    The Honorable, distinguished ladies and gentlemen...

  4. Inclusive Court (disability-friendly)
  • In 2011, Indonesia has ratified the convention on the rights of persons with disability through Law Number 19 of 2011 on the Ratification of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Subsequently, in 2016 Law Number 8 of 2016 was issued on Persons with Disability, which becomes the basis to provide overall protection on the rights of persons with disability without any discrimination in Indonesia.
  • Persons with disability have the right to justice and legal protection according to article 9 Law Number 8 of 2016. The rights of justice and legal protection for persons of disability includes the rights of equal treatment before the law, rights to be acknowledged and inherit movable or immovable property, right to control financial issue or appoint people to represent their interest in the matter of finance, right to obtain access to banking and non-banking services, right to obtain accessibility to judicial services, right to have protection from all pressure, violence, persecution, discrimination, and/or deprivation or takeover of property rights, the right to choose and appoint people to represent their interests in terms of civil matters inside and outside the court, and the right to have intellectual property rights protected.
  • The concept of inclusion court is not about how many court users who live with disability, yet on the principle of right equality for everyone before the court.
  • The accessibility of persons with disability to court house is also becomes an attention of the Supreme Court. Therefore, in the accreditation of court quality assurance, this accessibility becomes one of the focus of research. This is merely shown as an effort by judiciary institution to fulfill the rights of persons with disability and support the grow of friendly environment for persons of disability.
  • The Supreme Court at the moment is studying about disability service at court, the result of this study will be the basis to make a policy that can guarantee the fulfillment of persons of disability rights when facing the law at court.

The Honorable, and distinguished ladies and gentlemen...

  • Exactly 3 years ago, on 31st July 2017, the Chief Justice of Republic of Indonesia together with the Chief Justice of Federal Court of Australia and Chief Justice of Family Court of Australia updated the cooperation initiated since 2004.
  • In many things, the existing stipulations in the agreement are still relevant and can include several aspects of cooperation that we are currently doing.
  • The cooperation of Supreme Court and Family Court of Australia that includes improved service quality in the handling of marriage legalization cases, dispute that involve child custody and maintenance as well as family law or other children issues are matters, we can focus in the future.
  • This year, exactly on 31st July 2020 marks the 3 years of MoU in judicial cooperation between three courts in the two continents and also marks the end of the 3 years period that is agreed as the time frame of activities implementation as written on the MoU signed on 31 July 2017 in Melbourne.
  • This COVID-19 pandemic is one of the constraints for us to discuss intensively other cooperation that we can update in the future. However, I believe that the connector of three judicial institutions has built the communication to update MoU of 2017. Results of this communication will become points of discussion for us in continuing the cooperation which we surely expect to be beneficial for the relationship of both countries in legal matters.

The Honorable, and distinguished ladies and gentlemen...

  • Thus, I would like to conclude my speech in this opportunity, I apologize should there be any insufficiency in my delivery and thank you for your attention.
  • The Honorable Justice Alstergren, as we pray so that this Covid 19 pandemic shall pass soon and condition will become normal, afterwards I hope that we can meet in person. Please extend our warm regards to the big family of Family Court of Australia there.

Wassalamualikum wr. wb.

Chief Justice of Supreme Court of The Republic of Indonesia

Dr. Muhammad Syarifuddin, S.H., M.H.

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