Court information officers attend to queries and requests from visitors at the court helpdesk (Photo: Judicial Department of Fiji)


Suva, Fiji
– The Judicial Department of Fiji has established a Court Helpdesk with assistance from the European Union (EU) as part of the Fiji Access to Justice Project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The public is now able to receive assistance and guidance in accessing the court system through this newly-established court helpdesk in Suva.

Most people visiting the court system for the first time are unaware and unaccustomed to the processes and the institution itself, like Mohammed Hussein, a local Suva resident.

“I am thinking about bringing a matter to the civil court, but I’ve never been to the court before and am unfamiliar with the court locations and services. The court helpdesk was helpful. I was advised and navigated by the officer to the registry office,” said Mr Hussein.

In Suva, four full time court information officers attend to queries and requests from visitors at the court helpdesk. The services available at the helpdesk include provision of directions and details of all court listings; related forms and referrals; advice on court processes, procedures and practices; as well as receiving complaints.

I checked the court listings at the helpdesk for the case of my husband. I came to the court to observe my husband’s case a few times over the last two weeks, which was stressful for me, but the helpdesk is always helpful and so I did not have any problem in the court house.”

Debra Uluniyau (not her real name)

Mr Yohan Liyanage, Chief Registrar for the Judicial Department in Fiji, said “Any member of the public that comes in contact with the formal system should feel confident and comfortable to approach judicial institutions and receive satisfactory information about their queries. It is the priority of the Judicial Department that the members of the public are able to access courts in a more effortless way. In partnership with the EU and UNDP, the Judicial Department aims for information centres, like the existing helpdesk in Suva, to be accessible in all courts across the country.”

I came to observe a court case in Suva. The court helpdesk is convenient in providing quick information and answers to us, visitors. I was also able to obtain a legal aid application form at the helpdesk.

Sela Vugakoto from Kadavu

Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation for the Pacific Mr Christoph Wagner said, “Accessibility is about lowering the threshold between the population and the often complex and difficult to understand legal processes. By providing easy and accurate information about the judicial process the court helpdesk contributes to lowering this threshold. The EU, through the UNDP Fiji Access to Justice Project, supports the Judicial Department to increase the availability of services for the vulnerable people in Fiji.”

Mr Vineet Bhatia, Resident Representative a.i. UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, said, “The Sustainable Development Goals clearly testify to the fact that the rule of law and development are mutually reinforcing and are essential for sustainable development at the national and international level. With this in mind, UNDP, with generous support from the EU, works with the Judicial Department to bridge the gap between access to formal justice and the vulnerable and most excluded people, who often are unaware of their rights.”

The EU-funded Fiji Access to Justice Project supports access to justice for impoverished and vulnerable groups through empowering people to access legal rights and services, and strengthening key justice institutions to deliver improved services. Support to the establishment of court-based helpdesks is a key to improving the accessibility of the court processes and therefore linked to improved access to justice. 

For media queries, please contact:

Tomoko Kashiwazaki, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, email: tomoko.kashiwazaki@undp.org;  tel: +679 331 2500, or +679 942 2193

Kamni Narayan, EU Communications Unit, email: Kamni.NARAYAN@eeas.europa.eu, tel: +679 3313 633, ext. 115 or Mohammed-Nazeem Kasim, EU Communications Unit, email: Mohammed-Nazeem.KASIM@eeas.europa.eu, tel: +679 3313 633 ext. 110 or mobile:  +679 9920 597

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