15 Mar 2011

Lawyer in Palau refund drive over unconstitutional levy

7:27 pm on 15 March 2011

A lawyer in Palau, who successfully filed a case in the Supreme Court against a government imposed 25 US dollar alien registration fee, is now working to get refunds for the people who paid it.

Last month, the court ruled that the fee violated equal protection provisions and was an unconstitutional tax rather than a fee.

David Shipper, who represented Filipino journalist, Bernadette Carreon, who was the plaintiff in the case, says he's happy with the court's ruling which has set a precedent.

But he says a quick payout will be hard given the tough economic climate and a likely appeal by the government.

"The next step is that I'm trying to get the records of who registered and how much money was paid so I can make a motion to the court to try to get the goverment to pay those people back. Now the president and government have stated their intention to appeal the equal protection portion of the ruling."

Lawyer in Palau, David Shipper