8 Dec 2004

Fiji's chief justice supports call for regional court

4:00 pm on 8 December 2004

Fiji's chief justice, Daniel Fatiaki, is supporting a call by the secretary-general of the Pacific Islands Forum to establish a regional court.

Greg Urwin has suggested the region look at setting up a regional Privy Council or form specialist regional courts to deal with constitutional or land issues.

Mr Fatiaki says the idea is not new but it is timely to consider establishing a regional court because there's a shortage of experienced judicial officials and countries have limited resources.

He says although some people may raise concerns about sovereignty issues, they can be dealt with.

"Although you have a regional court, you don't necessarily have regional law. Now what it is, you have a regional court which hears appeals from different countries. And, during those appeals, obviously they will apply the national laws."

Mr Fatiaki also supports the idea of a specialist regional court dealing with constitutional cases but he says he has some concerns over establishing a regional lands court because there are too many disparate land tenure systems between countries.