Fiji Law Society urges the AG to take a more considered and professional public stance on court decisions with which he disagrees
Clarke says the tradition does not extend to making disparaging remarks about court officers or lawyers

Fiji Law Society urges the AG to take a more considered and professional public stance on court decisions with which he disagrees

Clarke says the tradition does not extend to making disparaging remarks about court officers or lawyers

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 30/08/2021
Fiji Law Society President, Wylie Clarke. [Image: File Photo]

The Fiji Law Society has urged the Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to take a more considered and professional public stance on court decisions with which he disagrees.

Law Society President, Wylie Clarke says Sayed-Khaiyum’s recent criticism of lawyers (including those employed by his own department) for “not doing a good job” in the case of MP Niko Nawaikula is unedifying.

Clarke says this is inappropriate for a person whose office is, by tradition, regarded as leader of the legal profession in Fiji.

He says last year the Attorney General gave a press conference to attack the judgments of Magistrates who upheld the rights of citizens charged with breaches of the national curfew.

Clarke says this, too, was out of order.

He says the Attorney General has a special duty to uphold and defend the legal profession and the judiciary.

The Law Society President says in doing so he or she must carefully reflect on the importance of maintaining confidence in court processes.

Clarke says all lawyers, including the Attorney General, are entitled to respectfully comment on court judgments with which they disagree. He says when done well, this keeps the public informed about the legal issues on which lawyers may have differences with the courts.

Clarke says this is an important element of the rule of law however, this tradition does not extend to making disparaging remarks about court officers or lawyers.

The Law Society says the judgment in Nawaikula’s case is appropriately reasoned and its conclusions are clearly set out.

He says as always, lawyers and lay people will have different views about a court’s judgment but senior lawyers, in Fiji and overseas, employ appropriately professional ways to express differences without disparaging others.

Clarke says they call upon the Attorney General to follow that practice.

We have asked the Attorney General for comments. He is yet to respond.

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