19 Aug 2013

Nauru Chief Justice says new courthouse now critical

7:03 pm on 19 August 2013

Nauru's Chief Justice, Geoffrey Eames, says a new courthouse and more lawyers are now critical as the country's courts start dealing with a host of asylum seeker cases.

The District Court starts proceedings this week on cases arising out of last September's riot at the regional processing centre and proceedings are also due in coming months in relation to July's riot.

Justice Eames says nearly 120 criminal prosecutions are due to be heard and they're expected to place a great strain on Nauru's limited resources.

He says the Supreme Court also starts hearing appeals from decisions of the Refugee Status Review Tribunal in the new year and there will be a need for even more resources including a separate registry system.

The Chief Justice made the comments as he admitted two lawyers from Australia to the Supreme Court.

They will be working on a mostly volunteer or pro bono basis but Justice Eames says more full time prosecution and defence lawyers will be required in coming months.

He says the resources needed are beyond Nauru's budget so the country will be looking to wealthier countries for support.