Justice C.E.O. explains appointment of third Judge

The Judicial Service Commission (J.S.C.) was forced to abandon plans to hire only two new Judges for the Lands and Titles Court (L.T.C.) due to a shortage on the bench caused by the suspension of three Judges. 

The Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration's (M.J.C.A.) Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.), Moliei Vaai, explained why three new L.T.C. Judges were sworn in on Monday despite the original advertisement for the positions only seeking applicants to fill two roles.

“Due to the suspension of three Judges [last week] the J.S.C. opted to hire a third Judge,” said Ms. Vaai. 

“The J.S.C.’s decision is logic, given the suspension of three Judges." 

The C.E.O. said the hiring process for the third Judge was unchanged and all candidates fulfilled standard criteria. 

Asked which of the Judges sworn in on Monday had been hired additionally by the J.S.C., the C.E.O. declined to specify:

“We had gone through the process that is in place when it comes to hiring of a Judge as usual," she said. 

“All three Judges went through the interview process and were shortlisted by the J.S.C.."

She concluded the reason for the appointment of the third Judge was to assist with the workload of the Court following the recent suspension of three Judges. 

The L.T.C. Deputy President, Seveali’i Panapa Vee, Senior Judge, Lavea Siaosi Hazelman and Judge Nanai Pologa Ioane were placed on suspension last week. 

As reported at the time, the Judges were suspended by the Acting Chief Justice and Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission (J.S.C.), His Honour Vui Clarence Nelson. 

 “Three Land and Titles Court Judges have been suspended by the Acting Chief Justice and Chairman of the J.S.C. as of Monday 9 September 2019 pending an investigation by a Committee,” the Ministry said in a statement. 

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