Judicial system overhaul proposed by AG

July 9, 2024 5:54 am

Aerial shot of the Suva court [File Photo]

The need for a balanced mix of local and expatriate judges within Fiji’s judiciary is important, says Attorney-General Graham Leung.

While advocating for localisation, Leung stresses that competence, integrity, and maturity should not be compromised.

Leung highlights the benefits of having carefully selected expatriate judicial officers, noting their minimal ties to the country.

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Attorney-General Graham Leung

He believes such officers can effectively mentor young judicial members.

The AG also suggested that expatriates presiding over politically sensitive cases could provide reassurance due to their lack of local connections.

Leung says an independent, impartial, honest, and competent judiciary is crucial for upholding the rule of law and maintaining public confidence in justice.

He acknowledged that the judiciary plays a vital role in upholding the rule of law, a role respected by the government.

Leung addressed the issue of delays in the delivery of judgments and rulings, which he described as a sign of “stress” within the system.

Such delays, he notes undermine public confidence in the legal system.

The Attorney-General praised the efforts of the Civil Division Rules Committee, which has recently concluded work on improving court efficiency through legislative and procedural amendments.

However, he suggested that the entire judicial system might need an overhaul to streamline and simplify court processes.

Reflecting on a 1994 government-commissioned review into the workings of the courts, Leung proposed a follow-up review to address current challenges.

Leung also called for exploring alternate dispute resolution methods such as arbitration and mediation to alleviate some pressures on the court system.