Tue, 09 May 2000

Bankruptcy courts for four major cities

JAKARTA (JP): Chief Judge of the Surabaya District Court Arsyad Sanusi has been appointed as the chief judge of the newly established Surabaya Commercial Court, an informed judge said.

"And the former Jakarta Commercial Court's judge, Hirman Purwanasuma, will serve as the vice chief judge of the Surabaya Commercial Court," Jakarta Commercial Court's Judge Mahdi Soroinda Nasution told journalists here.

He said the announcement of the appointment was made by Minister of Law and Legislation Yusril Ihza Mahendra during the official opening of the new Surabaya, Semarang, Makassar and Medan commercial courts on Monday in Surabaya, East Java.

"The ceremony was also attended by the chief and vice chief Justices of the Supreme Court, some other judges and prominent lawyers," he said.

Each commercial court in those four cities would consist of about seven judges, as compared to 16 judges at the Jakarta Commercial Court, Mahdi added.

Bankruptcy lawyer Lucas of Lucas & Partners told The Jakarta Post that Subardi and Syamsuril, respectively chief judges of Semarang and Medan District Courts were appointed chief judges of commercial courts in their respective cities.

These chief judges are also holding concurrent positions as the chief judges of their respective district courts and the commercial court, Lucas added.

While the position of chief judge at the Makassar Commercial Court is still vacant, vice chief Judge Untung Haryadi (former Jakarta Commercial Court judge) would simultaneously take the chief judge position temporarily, Lucas said.

Indonesia has so far set up only one commercial court in Jakarta -- also known as a bankruptcy court -- since the bankruptcy law became effective in October 1998.

Since then, the commercial court has declared dozens of companies bankrupt, but most of these were small companies, while larger companies have fared better.

Analysts suspect big companies of using their financial resources to influence the court's verdict.

"There has been an increasing number of weird verdicts made by the commercial courts which so clearly contradict the 1998 Law on Bankruptcy," one analyst said. (udi)