Vanuatu’s Chief Justice (CJ), Vincent Lunabek, has again asked for a Court Hall while delivering his official speech during the opening of the courts this year.
The Chief Justice said that since June 7, 2007 when the court house building was reduced to ashes, the Supreme Court’s hall has been placed on hold until today.
He asked the government to revive the important national project for the benefit of the community in this country and treat it as a priority.
CJ Lunabek said the government has supported the judiciary over the past years and he acknowledged this, saying he is grateful for the support.
He said the judiciary has also been discussing with the government its mid-and-long-term accommodation requirements for some time.
This year Chief Justice called again for a new court premises to be addressed as it is very important that the courts have their own buildings.
He said that the importance of the law in Vanuatu makes it imperative that the quality of the judiciary, the court houses and officer bearers in that field should be of the highest possible standard.
He said that judicial appointments, proper and friendly court houses with access for and to all must reflect this and must be among the national priorities of the national government.
“There is, however, a continuing need to be aware of practicalities as well,” he said.
“For this reason, following a detailed internal review, the judiciary has written to the government with proposals to improve the condition of service of judges and conditions under which Judges, Magistrates and the support staff are working and most importantly the Supreme Court Hall of Justice building and the Magistrates’ Court building in Port Vila.
“These matters are of considerable importance to the community to ensure and encourage the recruitment of the best lawyers and judges to the judiciary.
“The maintenance and improvement of the competence of the members of the judiciary is essential to the judicial functions and responsibilities I have described.”
Lunabek said that lack of a Court Hall is one of the issues affecting the judiciary and the court in Vanuatu today and he is hoping the government will make it official and start the project this year.
The Chief Justice said his concerns include the Magistrates’ Court building in Port Vila, the repair of Isangel Court house, Lakatoro, Luganville, Tongoa, Banks, Chief Registrar’s residence in Port Vila and the residence of the Magistrate at Isangel.