Interim Regional Judicial Development Program 2004-05
With funding from AusAID, to bridge the gap between the cessation of the Pacific Judicial Education Programme and the Pacific Judicial Development Programme, the Federal Court designed and delivered 15 training and capacity building activities with 10 Pacific countries. The participating courts were: the State Courts for the states of Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk & Yap, and the National Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia, Magistrates Court of Kiribati, High Court of the Cook Islands, High Court of Niue, High Court and Magistrates Court of Fiji, High Court and Magistrates Court of Tonga, Supreme Court, District Court and Land & Titles Court, of Samoa, National Courts and Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea, High Court and Magistrate's Court of Solomon Islands and Supreme Court of Vanuatu.
Seven jurisdictions were supported in understanding and developing effective alternative dispute resolution processes. Five jurisdictions were supported in the development of their understanding and application of various national priority areas of law and practice. The purpose of the project was to build the capacity of justice officials in order to improve the dispensation of efficient and effective justice. Feedback from various Chief Justices in the region suggests that the project contributed to building the competence and confidence of the participants who are delivering efficient and effective justice in the Program's focus areas. The following was accomplished:
- 194 people attended alternative dispute resolution workshops held in 7 countries for participants from 10 jurisdictions. By the end of each workshop, participants were familiar with the concepts and principles of alternative dispute resolution along with the genesis and use of the many alternative dispute resolution mechanisms operative in Australia and beyond. Each jurisdiction considered what forms of alternative dispute resolution would be suitable for their country, highlighting which rules would need to be changed/enacted in order to allow for alternative dispute resolution. This regional program increased cooperation between jurisdictions in implementing national alternative dispute resolution capabilities by highlighting similarities between jurisdictions in terms of their current position and their goals.
- 32 participants from Kiribati, Tonga, and Niue were trained in the use of their benchbook. 22 participants from Samoa requested a general discussion about comparative court and case management strategies.
- 22 lay judges and assessors from Samoa were trained on elements of land law and case management principles. The participants were also trained on how to pass their knowledge onto their peers.
- Eight magistrates from Tonga were trained in evidence and sentencing procedures.
- Six single magistrates from Kiribati were trained in criminal law/procedure, to be better able to assist in developing, designing and delivering in I-Kiribati, continuing judicial education programs for their peers.
- 18 judicial/legal officers in Niue were trained in a number of areas providing them with many basic skills required to conduct themselves as judicial officers.
- 30 lawyers heard a presentation and participated in a discussion which increased their knowledge and understanding of competition law with reference to the management of such cases in Papua New Guinea.
- Three workshops were conducted in the Cook Islands, two more than envisaged. Instead of sending an external trainer, trainers who had been trained under a previous program were asked to design and deliver the training. A retired Samoan judge oversaw the second and third workshop. The three workshops were:
- Ten Justices of the Peace attended an orientation workshop to introduce them to the role and responsibility. It also provided them with basic skills and knowledge of law and procedure required to perform their functions.
- Five criminal law clerks were equipped with the necessary knowledge, skill and values, which will then develop their competence in their role in dealing with the criminal division of the Court.
- Five Justices of the Peace were trained in evidence, law and procedure and the application of such in criminal matters.