History of MKCJ...


Arthur Noel Kenion and John Lowe Woods were interned in Changi Prison. While in Changi, A.N. Kenion and J,L. Woods entered into partnership and agreed that the survivor of the two should take over the other's firm. A.N. Kenion was gravely ill when the war ended, he was admitted into hospital and he died soon after.

Thus the burden of incorporating the two firms of Maxwell and Kenion, Cowdy and Jones fell on the shoulders of J.L. Woods. Instead of leaving for Ireland and the United Kingdom as most other expatriates did for recuperation, John Woods returned to Ipoh.

Before leaving for Ireland, John Lowe Woods arranged for his former partner Mr. Jones to take charge for six months and another lawyer to assist in the firm. But his illness was far more serious, it was 1 year and six months before he was able to resume his work in Ipoh.

To this day in the library of Maxwell, Kenion, Cowdy & Jones, the pre-war law reports bear the respective names of the separate firms of Maxwell & Kenion and Cowdy & Jones.

Two of the pre-war office safes are still in use, the looters found it too heavy to cart away; needles to say, the contents were rifled.

John Lowe Woods amalgamated the firm of Maxwell & Kenion, and Cowdy & Jones on 11/11/1945, and occupied the premises of Maxwell and Kenion, Mercantile Bank Building, 1 st Floor, Station Road. The annual auditing for the financial year of Maxwell, Kenion, Cowdy
& Jones closes on the 31st of October of each year, a practice established by John Lowe Woods.

As a matter of interest soon after the war the first floor of the Mercantile Bank Building on Station Road was for a short while occupied by the office of the Custodian of Enemy Property. A Ceylonese gentleman by the name of A. Sinnaduray was appointed by the said office to process the claims, The gentleman was none other than the late father of S. Jeya Palan who is a present partner.

Richard Weston Peters and Colin Wilfred Shuttleworth were members of the British Military Administration (BMA) following the Japanese surrender. Both were pre-war solicitors practising in the United Kingdom. While in Malaya at that time, they were members of the
Legal Affairs Department of the BMA. Colin Shuttleworth qualified with a B. C. L. and L. L. M.

They were both serving in Perak at that time and were approached by John Lowe Woods to join the firm, to which they agreed. As a consequence, they both took their release from the army in Malaya and started as assistants in Maxwell, Kenion, Cowdy & Jones.

On March 28th 1956, John Lowe Woods fell ill suddenly and was admitted to the Batu Gajah Hospital, which then was reserved exclusively for Europeans. He died the next morning at 8.30 a.m. March 29th1956 and was buried at 'Gods Little Acre' in Batu Gajah. A simple granite headstone marks his grave. His staff remember him as a kind hearted and generous man. A man given to charitable deeds, John Lowe Woods in 1948 made arrangements for a Staff Provident Fund.

108 years have passed since Maxwell, Kenion was founded and 68 years since it was amalgamated with Cowdy & Jones; it has stood the test of time and its own tribulations. The dusty ledgers and dickensian appearance are a thing of the past as a result of computerisation.

The office is centrally air-conditioned which was once the privilege of partners. Currently there are altogether 1 consultant, 10 partners, 5 associates and support staff of 45.

The nature of work has changed; the firm always had a general practice. There used to be more criminal litigation but it has gradually declined and the emphasis is on civil litigation, corporate work and conveyancing. Hence, for all intents and purposes, this firm has been in existence for a period in Excess of 100 years.


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