Chief Registrar Violates Independence of Judiciary
The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) expresses concern that the Chief Registrar Ms Ana Rokomokoti will be compromising the independence of the judiciary by personally prosecuting senior lawyers in the proceedings of the Legal Services Commission next week.
“The Legal Practitioners Decree 2009 gives the Chief Registrar powers to commence proceedings before the Legal Services Commission – section 109(1)(c). However, the Decree does not provide express powers to the Chief Registrar to prosecute or appear in proceedings before the Legal Services Commission,” CCF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rev Akuila Yabaki said.
“When a Court Officer such as the Chief Registrar prosecutes people before a Commission, the independence of the judiciary and the Commission is compromised. In effect, a judicial body is playing the role of both prosecutor and judge at the same time, which violates principles of impartiality, fairness and due process,” Rev Yabaki said.
If the decision of the Legal Services Commission is challenged in Court, the Chief Registrar has absolute powers to dismiss those proceedings, which she prosecuted herself. The Administration of Justice (Amendment) (No. 2) Decree 2009 provides superior powers to the Chief Registrar to terminate Court proceedings, even before a hearing in Court. Any prosecutions by the Chief Registrar would violate the UN Basic Principles of the Independence of the Judiciary and the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct.
“Justice must be seen to be done. Former High Court Judge, Justice John Connors should disqualify himself from hearing any matters prosecuted by the Chief Registrar, until the interim government appoints an independent prosecutor, such as the Director of Public Prosecutions Office,” Rev Yabaki said.