6 Mar 2018

Planned Nauru court must be judicially independent - judge

7:19 am on 6 March 2018

A former Nauru chief justice has raised concerns at Nauru's plans for its own court of appeal.

The Parliament building in Nauru.

The parliament building in Nauru. Photo: Supplied/ @ChrisTrott

The Nauru Government has said the new court will save people money, make justice more accessible and consolidate the island's sovereignty

It is aiming to end appeals to the Australian High Court.

But former chief justice, Geoffrey Eames, said it will not work if the independence of the judiciary is not guaranteed.

Justice Eames was effectively deported from the country in 2014 in what he said was a clear breach of the rule of law and contempt of court.

He said that has never been acknowledged or addressed by the Nauru Government.

"So the situation today remains much as it was at that time and that is where there are serious questions about the government's commitment to the rule of law and independence of the judiciary," said Justice Eames.

"And the independence of the judiciary is an absolutely critical pre-requisite for any appellate court."

Justice Geoffrey Eames said he would back a local final court of appeal if these conditions were met.

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