P.M. takes aim at slow Justices

The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, has called for amendments to enforce a compulsory time-frame in which Judges should hand down court rulings or resign from office.  

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, the Prime Minister did not go into specifics about his desire to amend laws, in a criticism aimed clearly at the Lands and Titles Court.

"There should be amendments making it compulsory for judges to deliver rulings within three month, if not, then you must resign," Tuilaepa said.

“There is no use to sit and rock on your chair when the public are waiting for their court decisions.

“And I will not sugarcoat my comments when the public are waiting on rulings over what [...is] precious yet was taken from them.'

The comments by Tuilaepa were made in response to concerns raised by the Member of Parliament for Vaimauga Sasa'e, Sulamanaia Tauiliili Tuivasa. 

“I reminded [Judges] of the core principle of lawyers and judges delivering decision on a timely manner and that justice delayed is justice denied,” said the Prime Minister. 

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Tuilaepa pointed to the swearing in of new Supreme Court Judge and seven Lands and Title Court Judges recently. He said their endorsements by Cabinet were motivated in part by the fact that they would help the Court to overcome a considerable backlog of cases. 

Tuilaepa said two weeks ago L.T.C. Judges conducted training under the watch of the Acting Chief Justice and other senior Justices.   

Tuilaepa agreed with M.P. Sulamanaia that the delayal of court proceedings was unjust. 

“I told the Judges that in other parts of the world court rulings should be delivered within three months and if there is a delay, the Judges may as well resign from their post," he said. 

And the Justice system of Samoa should follow suit. 

“There are cases where decisions have not been delivered after ten months and maybe the delay is due to the lack of Judges.” 

According to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet is eager to ensure justice is dispensed quickly. 

“And if the delay of court proceedings is due to the lack of Judges, the Cabinet will endorse new judges," he added. 

He reminded Parliament about the Inquiry into the L.T.C. several years back as a result of complaints by members of the public. 

“I am tired of people bombarding my office wanting to know the status of their court cases that are being postponed on numerous occasions and this is the result of poor management,” he said.

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