31 Dec 2014

NZ honour recognition of Tonga's judicial progress, Judge says

3:07 pm on 31 December 2014

Tonga's former Chief Justice says his New Year's honour in New Zealand is recognition of great progress in Tonga's justice sector.

Judge Anthony Ford has been made a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for services to Tonga and the Judiciary.

Mr Ford was appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court in 2000, and was Chief Justice during the riots of 2006, presiding over 250 prosecutions.

He says his 10 years in Tonga had many high and low points, but being awarded the World Bank's "reformer of the year" in 2008 on behalf of the Tongan judiciary for judicial reforms was a significant highlight.

"One of the things I introduced up there that made a tremendous difference was mediation. One of the problems we had was a backlog of cases going back a number of years. So we introduced mediation and went through all the files that were currently before the court and made a conscious effort to bring those to trial or strike them out."

Anthony Ford, who left Tonga in 2010, says it was an interesting period of great reform that has changed Tonga for the better.

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