30 Aug 2011

Tonga names New Zealand lawyer as Lord Chancellor

1:32 pm on 30 August 2011

A New Zealand lawyer Harry Waalkens Q.C, who's also a King's Counsellor in Tonga, has been made the interim Lord Chancellor of Tonga.

In a brief statement, the government says the Prince Regent in Council considered and approved the appointment on Monday.

The Lord Chancellor's office will give King George Tupou the 5th control over judicial and other appointments.

The King has said the move is to preserve the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, but it's also been strongly criticised, with commentators saying abolishing the independent Judicial Services Commission undermines the judiciary.

An interim Attorney General has also been named.

He's Barrie Sweetman, who had been chairman of the Electoral Commission.