19 Sep 2016

Cook Islands Opposition to get day in court

12:54 pm on 19 September 2016

The Cook Islands opposition has successfully applied for a High Court judgement on the legitimacy of a controversial sitting of Parliament in June.

Cook Islands Parliament

Cook Islands Parliament Photo: Supplied

At the sitting, the Opposition staged what it called a vote of no confidence and claimed to have removed the government, but this was not accepted by the Queen's Representative.

The court will also issue a declaratory judgement on whether the seat of Internal Affairs Minister Albert Nicholas will be declared vacant.

A submission by the Solicitor General, David James, to have the application struck out was dismissed last week by the Chief Justice, Tom Weston, who said the issues were of national importance.

Mr Weston said he was "greatly" troubled that the High Court would be dealing with parliamentary issues, as under Cook Islands law and the separation of powers doctrine, parliamentary procedures cannot be called into question by the High Court.

Mr Weston said the question of Minister Nicholas' seat was one which the High Court could deal with.