Message of thanks from the Samoa Law Society
Earlier this week the Samoa Law Society wrote to the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa to thank the legal profession here for their support over the past few weeks.
During a turbulent period for Samoa the authority of the courts and the legal profession was called into question by the outgoing Prime Minister. But in a decision issued on Friday 23 July the Samoan Court of Appeal validated the “tent swearing in” of the new government and paved the way for the peaceful transition of power.
“It is a great relief that the political impasse is resolved with the judiciary intact,” writes Komisi Koria, President of the Samoan Law Society.
“We are deeply indebted to the Law Society for your immense support. Consistent messages from independent international organisations have helped galvanise local public support for the judiciary and provide an important counterbalance to powerful domestic messages attacking the courts.
“Your efforts have also kept the Samoan crisis in the eyes of the international community, no mean feat at a time when international attention continues to be dominated by the pandemic.
“The ongoing assistance from New Zealand shows how regional partnerships can help support rule of law and judicial independence in small jurisdictions.”
President of the New Zealand Law Society Tiana Epati praised the work of the Society’s Rule of Law Committee for their knowledge and guidance throughout the constitutional crisis.
“We are very privileged to have practitioners with outstanding experience in this field on our Rule of Law Committee. It means we can call upon them when we need to raise issues of this magnitude with the New Zealand Government.
“Over the past few weeks we have done media statements, given interviews, written to the Minister and raised our concerns with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade about the attacks on the judiciary and lawyers in Samoa.
“In any democratic society the judiciary must be protected from interference and personal attacks. It is our duty as a legal professional organisation in the Pacific to look out for our colleagues and to resist attempts to interfere with the judicial process, the independence of the legal profession and the judiciary.
There remain challenges ahead for Samoa to restore public confidence in judiciary and the rule of law.