20 Jan 2014

Nauru Chief Justice doubts rule of law in Nauru

2:19 pm on 20 January 2014

Nauru's Chief Justice Geoffrey Eames says there must be serious concern whether the rule of law operates in the country.

Mr Eames says he has been barred from returning to Nauru after he issued an injunction to stop Nauru's chief magistrate from being deported.

Mr Eames says Peter Law was sacked, arrested and forcibly taken to the airport to return to Australia on Sunday.

Justice Eames says he had earlier told the Nauru government it was not to deport Mr Law until he had had the opportunity to deal with the case in Nauru but was told his visa had been cancelled.

"I think it's scandalous. I am the Chief Justice. I'm the only justice of the Supreme Court in Nauru and the business of the court cannot proceed while I'm not there. This decision smacks of an interference with the rule of law and an attempt to overturn judgements which had been made by the resident magistrate and which found disfavour with the government."

Justice Eames says Nauru's Minister of Justice had been critical of injunctions brought by Mr Law over the deportation of three business people under new immigration laws.

Those cases were due in court today.