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CJ reminds lawyers of role, regulations

Litia Cava
Friday, November 10, 2017

TOO many lawyers do not know how to approach the court, by what right, regulation or rule, says Chief Justice Anthony Gates.

He highlighted this issue while addressing 24 new barristers and solicitors at their swearing-in ceremony at the High Court in Suva yesterday.

"Nothing is a more fundamental starting point than jurisdiction," Justice Gates said.

"Judges do not have the power to inquire into a matter as the moment takes them or on a whim. They cannot order persons around unless a power to do so is given in a statute or by virtue of established law."

Justice Gates urged the new lawyers to prepare their arguments with clarity.

"Some academics have commenced attributing their observations and deductions using social media as a source sufficient for proof," he said.

"Courts will continue to rely on sound evidence. Many see to set up cases for and against a proposition or allegation.

"But there is no substitute for credible genuine evidence properly proved," he said.

Dean of the University of Fiji School of Law Professor Shaista Shameem said the institution was proud of its achievements, considering its size and the availability of resources.

"We focus on face-to-face education. We do not believe in the online mode of teaching law because students need to learn how to speak, how to debate with each other, how to argue and to basically perform," she said.

"Our school focuses on the face-to-face mode and it teaches law in the Fijian context so we don't broadly cover the South Pacific we are solely Fijian university looking at Fiji, but within the framework of international law. That is the special unique feature of the University of Fiji."

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