14 Oct 2014

No royal assent for Tongan judicial reforms

9:55 pm on 14 October 2014

Tonga's Minister of Justice, Clive Edwards, says the judicial system needs reforming but he is not sure the King and nobles will accept it.

An amendment to the Constitution in 2010 brought major changes to the judiciary, with the King's Lord Chancellor taking over the appointment of judges and overseeing the courts and the ministry controlling other aspects of the sector.

Mr Edwards ushered through amendments in August to re-instate the Judicial and Legal Service Commission Act.

But it is yet to get the royal assent and Mr Edwards is concerned the Privy Council is blocking it.

"To continue with the present system, it'll cause us problems in the future. But nothing can be done by the executive government because it has no say in the matter. That's determined solely by the panel and the Lord Chancellor. And that's the big problem we have."

Clive Edwards.