21 Apr 2009

Senior NZ lawyer critical of Fiji judicial appointment process

5:30 pm on 21 April 2009

A senior New Zealand lawyer, Peter Williams QC, has deplored the Fiji decision to exclude the Fiji Law Society from the process of appointing new judges.

The President of Fiji dismissed the judiciary ten days ago but so far no top judges have been appointed to fill the vacancies.

There has been criticism of the way the Fiji interim regime has acted and Mr Williams warns that a flawed appointment system undermines the judiciary.

"The whole essence of the judicial system is independence and if you take away that quality you don't have a judge at all, you just have an official, a government stooge official. The fact that the person has a law degree or experience means nothing."

Peter Williams QC