29 May 2009

IBA criticises Fiji regime for raid on Law Society

3:20 pm on 29 May 2009

The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute is raising concern at the Fiji military led regime's recent raid and removal of confidential files from the Fiji Law Society offices.

The seized files relate to complaints against Law Society members.

The raid follows a decree, issued last week, that the Chief Registrar of the Court will take over the role of issuing lawyers' practising certificates from the Law Society.

All certificates issued by the Law Society will become invalid from the end of next month.

The IBA's executive director, Mark Ellis, says this gross invasion of the rule of law takes Fiji another step away from an independent legal profession.

He says since the 2006 coup, repeated actions by the interim government have caused the deterioration of the rule of law in the country, and the latest decree may be the death knell to an independent legal profession.