Hon. Chief Justice Anthony Gates

Hon. Justice Suresh Chandra

Mr Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation in the EU Delegation for the Pacific

Distinguished guests

Representatives of the media corps

Colleagues and friends:

At the outset, let me wish Eid Mubarak to all those celebrating the blessed Eid al-Fitr festival.

I am very pleased to be here this morning for the handover of the 2007 Fiji Law Reports.

As already alluded to by Mr. Wagner in his remarks, the publication and distribution of the Fiji Law Reports is supported by the Fiji Access to Justice Project, which is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP.  The project supports access to justice for the poor and vulnerable groups by empowering them to access legal rights and services through relevant justice institutions, in conjunction with strengthening those key institutions to undertake improved service delivery. There are a wide range of activities currently being supported by the Fiji Access to Justice Project working in partnership with the Judicial Department, Legal Aid Commission and the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission.

Today’s focus is directed towards the Fiji Law Reports 2007 and a hearty “congratulations” is in order to all those involved in the production of the Reports. This is a good day for the justice sector actors as we document another year of authoritative knowledge and legal precedent.

I would like to extend our special thanks and congrats to the Judicial Department for its admirable leadership, determination and patience in producing the Fiji Law Reports. In addition, I would like to give a particular word of gratitude to the team at LexisNexis, the legal research and publication company, whose highly professional work has ensured that the reports are published to the best of international standards.

The Fiji Law Reports are used by a wide range of stakeholders that contribute to and support access to justice, such as the Judiciary, legal practitioners and professionals, government policymakers, researchers, academia and students. The Reports are not merely of use today, but will be of use and reference to many future generations both here and indeed in other common law jurisdictions.

Under the Fiji Access to Justice Project, we made a commitment to support the production of the Law Reports from 2004 to 2011 and from 2013 onwards.  I am pleased to note that the project is making progress in the production of a further four years of reports (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008) and these will be finalized in the course of this year and in early 2018. Given the broad scope of the project, ultimately, we look forward to a complete set of reports for every year and the future availability of the reports electronically.

UNDP is proud to be involved in the production of the Law Reports given the great potential of this undertaking to support an even higher level of professionalism in the justice sector. The Reports allow for greater transparency in decision-making and the development of legal principles, resulting in a more effective and efficient justice for all.

From the broader perspective, access to justice is both an enabler for development and an outcome of development in its own right. As such, it is prominent in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which the Fiji Government has fully endorsed. The transparency that the Law Reports bring to the justice system directly contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 16.3, which promotes the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensures equal access to justice for all.

In Fiji, this work would not have been possible without robust partnerships and I would like to once again express UNDP’s strong appreciation to the Judicial Department and the European Union in this regard. This has been a truly rewarding partnership, and we look forward to reaching many more milestones together to deliver tangible benefits of better access to justice to Fijians around the country.

Thank you all very much!

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