7 Mar 2014

Pacific judges fear Nauru judicial independence under threat

7:36 pm on 7 March 2014

The chief justice of the Cook Islands, Tom Weston, says judges around the Pacific are concerned that judicial independence in Nauru is under threat.

Senior Pacific judges have been meeting in Auckland and issued a statement strongly condemning the actions of the Nauru Government in deporting the resident magistrate Peter Law and revoking the visa of the island's chief justice, Geoffrey Eames.

Mr Law was deported despite a court order stopping such a move.

Chief Justice Weston says about a dozen senior Pacific judges get together regularly to discuss leadership issues, and the recent events in Nauru have been high on the agenda.

"Those types of thing go directly to the ability of judges in the Pacific to carry out their duties, so as a group of senior judges we are concerned to maintain judicial independence and this seemed to strike right at the heart of that. So we discussed the matter at considerable length and then issued that statement."