2 Jun 2011

Tonga king announces changes to judicial system

1:04 pm on 2 June 2011

The King of Tonga, George Tupou the 5th, has opened the new session of Parliament, saying the government will go ahead with changes to the judicial system that will effectively give him control of appointments.

Legislation will be proposed to establish the office of Lord Chancellor, who the King says will be empowered to protect the judiciary.

He says this will preserve the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

When the plan was first mooted last year, commentators were strongly critical, saying abolishing the independent Judicial Services Commission would undermine the judiciary.

In his speech, the King has also revealed that the government aims to achieve economic growth of two percent by 2013, but he didn't say how it would do this.