15 Nov 2008

Fiji's interim government gets injunction to continue charter work

8:48 am on 15 November 2008

Fiji's interim government has acquired a court injunction that will allow the National Council for Building a Better Fiji to resume work on the People's Charter.

The injunction was granted late yesterday evening by Justice John Byrnes.

Fiji's interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has confirmed that their lawyers managed to get a court injunction following an earlier judgement by the High Court, to stop the interim Government and the NCBBF from carrying out all Charter-related work.

He told Fiji Live they went to the High Court yesterday Justice Jitoko to seek a stay on the injunctive orders that he had granted but he was not available nor were any of the High Court judges.

He said so as allowed under the rules we went to the Court of Appeal and a single member judge - Justice Byrne, following submissions made by the AGs chambers and given the urgency of the matter, granted a stay of the decision.

He also said Justice Byrne also granted a stay on all further proceedings in the High Court pending the determination of their appeal on the primary ground that the State cannot be injuncted under section 15 of the State Proceedings Act.

According to the AG, the matter is now set before the Court of Appeal on Thursday November 20.

He said this effectively means that the People's Charter for Change, the consultations under that will continue.

The AG added the NCBBF has been informed and work on the Charter has resumed.

Earlier yesterday Justice Jitoko ordered that the interim Government stop "promulgating any law, decree order or doing or recommending anything whatsoever to alter or amend the 1997 Constitution or anything whatsoever, including changes to the electoral system that are contrary to or inconsistent with current provisions of the Constitution until the final determination of this matter".

The case was brought to court by Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua leader, deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.