The decision by Fiji's interim government to deny the Fiji Law Society permission to hold its annual convention has drawn criticism from regional legal bodies.
The Law Council of Australia released a statement saying it "shares the disappointment" expressed by LawAsia, a law association for Asia and the Pacific, following the decision.
Last held in 2008, the Fiji Law Society's annual convention is a yearly gathering of lawyers and a much-anticipated event in the legal calendar. It attracts regional and local lawyers, judges and government legal officers, and provides an opportunity for lawyers to meet and participate in education and training programs. Members also use the event as a forum in which to discuss the challenges and issues facing their nation's legal profession, as well as obtain credits towards the mandatory legal education requirement for a new practising certificate.
The interim government initially decided to allow the conference to go ahead before withdrawing the Fiji Law Society's permit.
The Fiji Law Society is no stranger to difficulties, with a fire destroying the Law Society building in October 2010 and the interim government temporarily deregistering the organisation in 2009.
The Law Council and LawAsia have urged the interim government to consider lifting its ban on the convention.