27 Feb 2007

Four overseas judges not to seek re-appointment to Fiji courts

10:53 am on 27 February 2007

Four senior overseas judges who served in Fiji's Appeal and Supreme courts have declined to renew their terms after they expired.

This has been revealed by the president of the Fiji Court of Appeal, Justice Gordon Ward.

Justice Ward has refuted statements in the report of the Eminent Person Group that senior judges in the Appeal and Supreme courts may refuse to sit on these courts.

Justice Ward says all the judges agree that their duty is to continue to sit as long as they can do so lawfully.

But, he says, the judges consider that in the present circumstances they cannot be appointed or re-appointed on the expiry of their terms because to do so would be a breach of their judicial oaths.

Justice Ward says all the appeal judges have served Fiji for many years and far from resigning or refusing to accept re-appointment, all have expressed the hope that they can lawfully continue to serve Fiji.

The interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, says Justice Ward's statement appears to be pre-judging the legality or otherwise of the present state of affairs when the matter is before the courts in the case filed by the deposed SDL government