21 Jul 2008

Academic backs call for Pacific Court

7:57 pm on 21 July 2008

A University of the South Pacific law professor in Port Vila says he welcomes the idea of further exploring a Pacific Court in the region.

A former Fiji High Court judge Justice Gerard Winters raised the issue of a Pacific Court as a paramount court for certain cases, to be based in Vanuatu, during the weekend's Law Society convention.

Professor Brian Opeskin says for some Pacific countries the idea certainly warrants further discussion.

He says the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat has been considering it as a way to strengthen law and justice in the region.

"I think this is just another mechanism that can be considered in order to try and make the region a strong one that can ensure the rule of law across the region and to avoid problems of political instability and problems with law and order that we have seen arise from time to time across the region. So the idea of strengthening judicial services including through the court is certainly a good one that needs to be explored."

Brian Opeskin says a common Pacific court is ideal, as many Pacific countries have small populations and limited capacity and resources.