The Rt. Hon. Tun Arifin bin Zakaria is the former Chief Justice of Malaysia (2011-2017).
He served on the High Court Bench in Malaysia as well as serving 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.
Whilst he was the Chief Justice he continually strived to improve the efficiency of the judiciary. He has been a strong advocate for promoting the use of information technology in the courts. In 2013, he set up the specialized Construction Court in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam, and in 2014, he oversaw the establishment of the Coroner’s Court.
He currently sits as an arbitrator in a diverse number of commercial and international disputes as well as being a panelist on the Panel of Arbitrators at the Asian International Arbitration Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
His areas of expertise are:
- Commercial and International Dispute Resolution
- International Arbitration
- LLB, University of Sheffield
- LLM, University College London
Memberships and Appointments
Appointments within Malaysia’s Judiciary:
- Served in various capacities within Malaysia’s Judicial and Legal Service, including 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 (1974-1992)
- Appointed as Judicial Commissioner of the High Court of Malaya (1992)
- Appointed as High Court Judge of Malaya (1994)
- Appointed as Court of Appeal Judge (2002)
- Appointed to the Federal Court (2005)
- Appointed as Chief Judge of the High Court of Malaya (2008)
- Chief Justice of Malaysia (2011-2017)
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
Rt. Hon. Tun Arifin bin Zakaria has also received the following honours:
- 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
- Darjah Kebesaran Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang Sri Sultan Ahmad Shah
- Darjah Kebesaran Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (Kelantan)
- Darjah Kebesaran Seri Paduka Setia Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Terbilang
- Darjah Dato' Paduka Cura Simanja Kini (Perak) D.P.C.M (19.04.1988)
- Darjah Dato' Paduka Mahkota Kelantan (Kelantan) D.P.M.K (30.03.1999)
- (Kelantan) S.P.S.K (30.03.2005)
- Darjah Panglima Setia Mahkota (Persekutuan) P.S.M (06.06.2009)
- Darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Perak (Perak) S.P.M.P (19.04.2010)
- Darjah Seri Paduka Cura Si Manja Kini (Perak) S.PC.M (22.05. 2012)
- Darjah Seri Setia Mahkota Malaysia (Persekutuan) S.S.M (02.06.2012)
- Darjah Utama Pangkuan Negeri (Pulau Pinang) D.U.P.N (14.07.2012)
- Pahang (Pahang) S.S.A.P (24.10.2012)
- Darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Selangor (Selangor) S.P.M.S (11.12.2012)
- S.P.M.K (11.11.2014)
- Darjah Kebesaran Seri Panglima Darjah Kinabalu (Sabah) S.P.D.K (03.10.2015)
- Editor-in-chief of the Malaysian Civil Procedure White Book (Sweet & Maxwell) (2015)
- Editor-in-chief of Arbitration in Malaysia: A Practical Guide (Sweet & Maxwell) (2016)
The following are a selection of Rt. Hon. Tun Arifin bin Zakaria’s speeches and publications:
- 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.
- 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.
- Article entitled “Recent Reforms in The Legal Framework of Islamic Finance in Malaysia: Court’s Perspective", IIUM Law Journal 2013.
- 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 “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.
- 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.
- 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.