16 Jun 2004

Asylum supporters plan appeal to Australian High Court over Nauru visa ruling

1:32 pm on 16 June 2004

Melbourne lawyer, Julina Burnside QC, who was barred from entering Nauru to represent asylum seekers on the island, says he will appeal yesterday's decision by the Nauru chief justice that the visas used to detain them are legal.

The Nauru Government spokesperson says chief justice Barry Connell found the special purpose visas are a "legitimate and appropriate instrument" and "did not constitute a wrongful detention of the applicants".

Mr Burnside says the visas are more like jail orders and he believes they have a strong case for the appeal which will be heard in the Australian High Court.

He and his colleagues were stopped from flying to Nauru, while Australian lawyers observing for Canberra and others acting for Nauru, were allowed in.

"and all of these Australian lawyers went over on the very flight that we were prevented from boarding. I must say that fact alone makes me fairly confident about the argument because if they didn't think our argument was any good they shouldn't have worried about us going across to argue it"