7 Dec 2005

NZ diplomat urges Fiji judiciary to maintain the profession's integrity

11:18 am on 7 December 2005

New Zealand's high commissioner to Fiji has urged the country's judges and magistrates to maintain the integrity of the judiciary and public confidence by keeping their differences at a professional level.

Michael Green has told them he was aware of rifts in Fiji's judiciary but getting personal will not get them anywhere.

The Fiji Times reports that Mr Green made the comment at the National Judicial Conference now underway at Sigatoka.

Mr Green called on judges and magistrates to deal with personal issues because events in future might require them to address politically sensitive matters with potentially far reaching consequences.

He said Fiji's judiciary had been tested by political events, and by general consent it had acquitted itself well, though not without generating some controversy along the way.

Mr Green said in their opinions they must reflect society's opinions and help to shape them, thereby strengthening public confidence in the judiciary.

He added that he had served as a diplomat in three countries where public confidence in the judiciary was compromised by its subordination to the interests of the power elite, by corruption, or by incompetence and inefficiency.