The High Court of Solomon Islands. Photo credit: SIBC.

The High Court of Solomon Islands. Photo credit: SIBC.

The Attorney-General, James Apaniai has said it is a challenge for the Judiciary to move cases forward and deliver judgements on time.

Mr Apaniai made the statement while speaking at the 2016 legal year opening this week.

He says cases are delayed because the judges fail to apply the principles of case management as provided for in the Solomon Islands
Courts civil law procedures in 2007.

“With respect, it seems to me that the courts are too lenient in the application and enforcement of those principles. Adjournments are too readily granted and excuses for non-compliance redirections orders are also too directly accepted. Council failure to turn up on hearing dates are rarely penalised nor have they ever been reported for disciplinary action. It is time to apply these principles more aggressively.”

The Attorney-General adds, rule 12.3.1 of the civil procedure rule requires judgements to be delivered within three months from the date the trial ends.

He says this has not been complied with and the Courts need to find out why.

“The courts need to find out that is so. If it is due of the shortage of judges then efforts should be made to increase the number of judges. If the cause of delay is because of terms and conditions of service of judges are not sufficient to encourage judges to work harder, then a further review of the terms and conditions of service should be pursued. If it is because judges are simply complacent in the performance of their duties, then a system should be introduced to address the weakness.”

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