22 Oct 2007

Niue business groups calls for first non-state lawyer to be hired

3:42 pm on 22 October 2007

A business lobby group in Niue says human rights could be at stake if the island doesn't attract an independent lawyer soon.

The Niue Business Round Table is trying to attract the island's first non-government lawyer and accountant, and hopes to find suitable candidates in New Zealand.

A round table spokesman, Mark Cross, says the lawyer will be needed part-time, to deal with land court issues and a little criminal law, such as drink driving cases.

He says there's a serious lack of legal representation for the island's residents.

"Well there's none at all and that's at odds with Article Nine of the Human Rights Charter, which says people should have legal representation. Potentially there's a situation where the prosecution or police can just run rings around the defendant if he chooses to plead not guilty."

Mark Cross says they put advertisements for a lawyer in suburban papers in New Zealand about two weeks ago and will now try searching through law societies.