6 Mar 2014

Concern relocation of courts in Fiji will affect access to justice

2:49 pm on 6 March 2014

Women's groups in Fiji are upset about the government's decision to relocate the Courts to Veiuto, on the outskirts of Suva.

The move has come about as a result of the government's plan to return parliament to the Government Buildings, near the centre of the city, in what will effectively be a straight swap.

The co-ordinator of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre says it will be much more difficult for people to get out to Veiuto where the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Family Law and Juvenile Courts will be relocated.

Shamima Ali says the government has explained it wants to improve public access to Parliament but she says the majority of people just want to put food on the table.

"Those issues of parliament don't matter much, it should, but that is the privilege of the elite, you know who would go in and sit in and listen to parliament. The issues of justice and access to justice we believe is far more important because that is the only avenue a lot of people from the lower socio-economic bracket as well as women have."

Shamima Ali doesn't believe Fiji can afford the relocation costs and should be spending money on things like the health system.