19 May 2008

Commision of inquiry into Fiji magistracy releases report

8:31 am on 19 May 2008

The Commission of Inquiry report into Fiji's magistracy gathered by Justice John Connors has now been made public.

The inquiry, which began in September last year, was commissioned by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo to investigate corrupt practices within the judicial system.

The interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum thanked Justice Connors for the tremendous effort in compiling the report, despite numerous threats made against him.

According to Sayed-Khaiyum, the threats made against Justice Connors were blatant threats but did not affect the work of the commission at all.

The report highlights amongst other things; the level of competence of magistrates particularly with respect to civil suits, the delay in the disposal of proceedings, the delay in the delivery of judgments and rulings and the bias of magistrates.

It also makes several suggestions on addressing the backlog of cases as well as administrative issues like limiting the term of a resident magistrate in a particular district to three years.