26 May 2009

Regional law association says up to lawyers if they want Fiji appointments

10:38 am on 26 May 2009

The regional law association, LAWASIA says its up to the conscience of lawyers to decide whether they take up appointments under the interim government in Fiji.

Fiji's Chief Justice Anthony Gates who was one of four judges reappointed to the high court on Friday says lawyers are needed to help restored the country and its institutions to normality.

Dr Gordon Hughes, a former president of LAWASIA who visited Fiji on an observer mission two years ago says the statement highlights the dilemma facing lawyers.

Dr Hughes says societies can't function without judges but lawyers are concerned that by accepting judicial appointments they are legitimising the military-led regime in Fiji.

He says LAWASIA has left that decision up to individual lawyers.

"The position of LAWASIA and also the Law Council of Australia has been a little bit different. They essentially leave it to the individual as a matter of conscience but they encourage the individual before they accept an appointment to give considerations to both sides of the argument."

Dr Gordon Hughes, a former president of LAWASIA.