Sir Palmer raises concern on continuous insufficient fund allocations for Court of Appeal.
Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer highlighted the issue of limited funding as an ongoing challenge for the judiciary.
Delivering his speech at the formal opening of the 2024 legal year yesterday, Sir Palmer said insufficient fund allocation towards the Court of Appeal sittings continues to impact their yearly operations.
The Court of Appeal conducts two sittings, one in the first quarter and the other in the second quarter of each year.
” This continues to be our biggest hurdle with the ongoing saga or insufficient funds being allocated every year despite our submissions for funds to cater for two sittings each year in the sum of about $2.4m.”
“As the highest court in the land, that lack of recognition continues to place us every year in having to bid for funds to have this important court convene its sessions, and this year is no different,” said Palmer.
Since taking on leadership in the Judiciary, Sir Palmer has been vocal on the challenges faced by the Judiciary.
Last year, he raised similar concerns regarding the lack of recognition towards the Court of Appeal sittings, as fund allocated for that year could cater for only one sitting, resulting in them having to submit an application for contingency warrant to get funds for the second sitting.
He said such practice also caused a delay in the Court of Appeal Sitting in 2021, resulting in only one sitting held that year.
Chief Justice Palmer stated then that such practice is unsatisfactory as there shouldn’t be a need to keep applying for supplementary funds to carry out their basic and core functions.
Speaking on other challenges, Sir Palmer also reiterated the need for the Court of Appeal to have its own court room with supporting infrastructures and secretariat support.
He stated with the increasing number of cases registered on appeal, it is not a need that should be over looked.
Meanwhile, Attorney General John Muria Jnr assures that plans are in place to set up a resident Court of Appeal in the country.
” With the increase in number of filed court of appeal cases, the backlog of Court of Appeal is becoming a concern. I continue to receive representations from Legal Counsels and Court users as to the concerns regarding the time taken to have their disputes settled.”
” With the support of the Prime Minister, I have written to the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs to commence discussions on the setting up of a resident Court of Appeal in Solomon Islands in 2024 so that Court of Appeal can sit whenever there is a need and ordinary Solomon Islanders can have their matters dealt with rather than having to wait for scheduled sittings twice a year,” said Muria.
SIBC News understands, the first session for the Court of Appeal this year will be held in the month of April or May.
This will also see the formal welcome of the new President of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands, the former Chief Justice of Solomon Islands, Sir John Baptist Muria.
Sir Murias’ appointment was made effective from the 1st of November 2023 for a period of 5 years.
By Eliza Kukutu