In light of last month's Court of Appeal's decision to dismiss the appeal for condemned drug trafficker Yong Vui Kong, counsel M. Ravi made an application last week to the High Court for Judicial Review related to Vui Kong's clemency process and other constitutional matters.
Under normal circumstances, a $20,000 security deposit and a $1,000 filing fee are payable for an application for judicial review, especially so in Vui Kong's case because he had already exhausted the Criminal Jurisdiction process, and an application for judicial review would fall under civil law.
On a letter dated 7th June 2010, the High Court replied to M. Ravi stating, "we unable to accede to your request for a waiver of filing fees for the Judicial Review application." No reasons were given.
The following day, the High Court did an about-turn when it sent another letter, which reads, "Please be informed that as the intended application for Judicial Review arises out of a criminal case, it is treated as a criminal case and therefore no filing is payable. This letter supersedes our letter dated 7 June 2010."
One can only speculate the High Court's sudden change of decision regarding the waiver of fees, which sums up to over $21,000, which is by no means a small amount for most people.
But one thing for certain is that this could have favourable implications on future applications for judicial reviews, as it sets a precedent for future criminal cases and allows the vast majority, who are not able to afford the large sum of money needed, to determine their rights by way of judicial review.