A judge in New Caledonia has rejected a request by 12 members of the Congress to approve their plan to form their own group in the legislature.
The Noumea daily newspaper says the judge declined to enter into the political dispute between some of the members of the Future Together Party and the Congress president, Pierre Frogier, who is the head of a rival anti-independence party.
Mr Frogier's interpretation of the legislature's working is that the 12 cannot form a separate group.
However, a member of the group, Philippe Michel, says there is a basic political freedom to form a group.
He says they are therefore likely to resubmit their case to the judiciary.
The anti-independence camp has fractured into several parties which in turn have seen interal splits.
This comes as congressional elections for a new five-year term are due next year