29 Oct 2003

Concerns about large backlog of civil law cases in western Fiji

4:42 pm on 29 October 2003

The only High Court judge in western Fiji, Justice John Byrne, has appealed for help to deal with a backlog of 3 thousand 500 cases.

The Fiji Times quotes Justice Byrne as saying there must be at least two more judges at Lautoka High Court to hear civil cases.

He says in addition to the three and a half thousand cases, there are more than one thousand interlocutory matters that need his attention.

Justice Byrne says at least two of the nine judges in Suva should go to Lautoka to help with the backlog.

The attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, says one just has to learn to live with the available resources as facilities and money would have to be secured to appoint another judge at Lautoka.

A Fiji Law Society council member, Rajesh Gordon, says the people of the west are being discriminated against because justice for them is different from that dispensed in Suva.

Mr Gordon says a civil case filed in Lautoka takes about five to six years to be resolved.