16 Nov 2007

Fiji interim Attorney-General denies administration is pressuring judiciary

11:20 am on 16 November 2007

Fiji's interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has rejected a claim by Tonga's chief justice that the Fiji judiciary is under pressure from the interim administration.

Speaking after a meeting of the Pacific Judicial Conference in Nuku'alofa, Justice Tony Ford said a number of judges had expressed concern about pressure on the Fiji judiciary based on the reports they had received.

But Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says no evidence has been given in support of this claim.

He says some of the statements coming out of Tonga were misplaced because it appeared they might have listened to one or two persons who had vested political and personal interests to further their agenda and undermine the judiciary in Fiji.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says there are three key markers to assess the independence of the judiciary and all are fully satisfied.

The interim attorney general says he has received a lot of feedback from practitioners and others saying the judiciary seems to be functioning a lot better compared with previous years.

Earlier, the president of the Fiji Law Society, Isireli Fa, said they were not aware of any instance where the independence of the judiciary was compromised nor any judgment that gave them concern that justice had not been done.