Pacific Judicial Capacity Building Program 2012-13
Funded by AusAID, the Program aims to improve fairness and equality in access to and the exercise of rights embodied in international, domestic and customary law. The program involves Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Kosrae State in the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Tonga, Vanuatu, Nauru and Niue and comprised of a regional Commercial Case Management Workshop, a regional Court-Annexed Mediation Workshop, the provision of legal resources to Tonga, Kiribati and Vanuatu and a visit to Vanuatu to assist with the development of the Chief Justice's administrative reform plans, as well as series of bilateral visits to follow-up on the workshops.
Commercial Case Management Workshop
The Commercial Case Management Workshop was held in Brisbane in May 2012, and included discussions on the interrelationships between sovereign risk assessment, investment, national development, judicial independence and commercial jurisdiction; commercial causes and case management; meeting the expectations of the judiciary and legal profession; pleadings, discovery and interrogatories; electronic court filing; issues in evidence; alternative dispute resolution; self-represented parties; and support to commercial list judges.
Court-Annexed Mediation Workshop
The Court Annexed Mediation Workshop was held in Sydney in June, 2012. It included discussions on conducting a mediation, co-mediation, strategies and interventions of the mediator, dealing with language barriers, dealing with self-represented litigants, bridging the gap when close to settlement, and building a system of court-annexed mediation.
Following the two Workshops in Australia, a series of bilateral visits were implemented, with representatives of the Federal Court travelling to participating countries.
In January 2013, Deputy District Registrar Chuan Ng travelled to Palau and Deputy Registrar, Ian Irving, to Nauru to consult with stakeholders and assist them in creating a system of court-annexed mediation, including holding a workshop in each country.
In February 2013, Deputy District Registrar Patricia Hannigan visited Niue to meet with stakeholders to assess the benefit of and need for a system of court-annexed mediation in that country. Deputy District Registrar Kim Lackenby visited Samoa, and Athena Ingall of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, on behalf of the Court went to Kosrae to present workshops on alternative dispute resolution and commercial case management.
In March 2013, Ms Bernadette Rogers on behalf of the Federal Court held a mediation workshop in Pohnpei with members of the judiciary from Pohnpei and Chuuk state courts.