THE Solomon Islands Bar Association (SIBA) is calling on the government and development partners to swiftly address the working terms and condition of the judicial workers.
President Katalaini Ziru made the call on Monday at the opening of the 2015 legal year.
“The past year saw changes made to the Magistrates’ remuneration framework according the positions of magistrates the status of constitutional post,” she said.
“The changes captured by the Constitution (Status of Magistrates) (Amendment) Act 2014 has improved the attractiveness of the terms and conditions of Magistrates, essentially resulting in the increase of expressions of interest by lawyers for careers in the Magistracy.
“Unfortunately, this has not been the same for the judiciary,” she said.
“SIBa calls on the government and by extension, development partners’ assistance in swiftly addressing this issue as well as vacancies within the judiciary.
“Left unaddressed, this significantly impinges on access to justice and judicial services by an average Solomon Islander.
“Simply put, the need for a whole of government approach to improving the scheme of service for the judiciary must be viewed by all stakeholders as a critical element of the delivery of justice; for the development and improvement of the courts, the well-being of its learned judges, and even the number of serving judges, is the development and improvement to the justice system itself, and therefore the community, the peoples and nation as a whole.”
Mrs Ziru said in October last year, the High Court saw the departure of Justice Stephen Pallaras and the resignation of Justice James Apaniai.
“Against these apparent losses, my Lord the Chief Justice in a speech at the Court of Appeal dinner boldly and quite frankly emphasised the need for government to seriously consider improving the terms and conditions of Judges as well as prioritise the autonomy of the Judiciary.
“Today, SIBA wholeheartedly supports this emphatic call in equal measure,” the president said.
The newly elected president said access to to justice is an important tenet of democracy where all stakeholders have a crucial part to play within an established framework.
She added that the framework is compromised with the slightest challenges, including relating to the capacity of stakeholders.
“To this end, the significant of revisiting and improving the judgesschemes of service cannot be over-emphasised.”
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN