21 Aug 2009

Bill passing allows Cook Islands courts to sit offshore

8:42 am on 21 August 2009

The Cook Islands parliament has passed a bill allowing the High Court and the Court of Appeal to sit offshore.

The Constitution Amendment, No 28, Bill, passed a week ago, provides for the reform and clarification of the appointment of judges, the appointment of Masters to the High Court, and the composition of the Court of Appeal.

The Member of Parliament for Tongareva, Wilkie Rasmussen, says an offshore sitting of the Appeal Court will be the exception rather than the rule but it will save the country money.

"When they sit in New Zealand it is less costly, for example the retention of QCs to appear in court, it's less expensive because you know the clients don't have to pay for their accommodation, their airfares and of course their salaries when they come over to the Cook Islands."

Wilkie Rasmussen says the new laws will take effect in three months.