find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Fiji law society attack angers Aus lawyers

Fiji law society attack angers Aus lawyers

The Australian and New Zealand legal professions have publicly condemned the Fiji Government's raid of the country's law society offices on the weekend.

THE Australian and New Zealand legal professions have publicly condemned the Fiji Government's raid of the country's law society offices on the weekend. 

The weekend raid included them removing files from the law society offices. The society has been told it no longer has control of licensing lawyers, and that membership is no longer compulsory. 

Today the Law Council of Australia expressed its "grave concerns" about the future independence of the legal profession in Fiji.  It raised concerns about Decree 16, which places the power to issue practising certificates in the hands of the Chief registrar of the court, a government employee. 

“I am concerned that this could be the first step in the Fiji Government’s attempts to control the country’s legal profession by not allowing lawyers who oppose the regime to practise law," said Law Council president John Corcoran.  

The weekend move follows the military regime's reappointment of judges on Friday, just six weeks after firing them all.  Those reinstated include two High Court justices who previously ruled that the military's 2006 coup was legal.  

Corcoran said it was alarming that these measures had not been the subject of consultation with the Fiji Law Society or Fiji’s legal profession. “Without an independent legal profession, a vital ingredient in upholding the rule of law in Fiji would be missing,” he said. 

He said the Law Council was also appalled at disturbing reports which indicate that the Fiji Government raided the offices of the Fiji Law Society over the weekend, seizing confidential documents in the process. 

“The Law Council, in conjunction with the Fiji Law Society, will continue to keep a watchful eye on events to monitor whether the new arrangements result in an attack on the independence of the legal profession in Fiji,” Corcoran said.  

Fiji's interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, said reforms to the society would improve transparency. Fiji's military ruler Commodore Frank Bainimarama ousted the government in a 2006 coup and installed himself as prime minister. 

Law societies in Fiji, Australia and New Zealand have urged lawyers in the three countries not to take up judicial postings to serve the regime. Australian and New Zealand citizens often serve as judges in Fiji, which lacks enough homegrown senior lawyers.

“Once you cancel that element of independence you don’t have an effective judiciary at all. It is a police state just like you had in Nazi Germany,” NZ lawyer, Peter Williams QC, told TVNZ.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Fiji law society attack angers Aus lawyers
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...