26 Sep 2011

Law professor raises concern at private interests driving controversial Fiji law

2:28 pm on 26 September 2011

Pacific legal studies and employment law expert, Bill Hodge, says offshore law drafting is not an unusual or bad idea, particularly in poorly resourced Pacific Island countries.

But the associate law professor at the University of Auckland says it's concerning if private interests are behind the law.

Dr Hodge was commenting on allegations Air Pacific helped finance Fiji's controversial Essential National Industries Decree which has been roundly condemned by labour and human rights organisations.

"It is quite common for international comity to provide standard legislation, standard drafts which take away the need to reinvent the wheel but it does raise a concern if the source is not an international organisation or an international convention which is totally transparent and has probably a legitimate international interest."

Bill Hodge says it's not unusual for a country to have special requirements for essential industries but it is extraordinary for such legislation to cut across fundamental international principles.