The Law Council of Australia is concerned about breaches of the rule of law in Samoa following the general elections held on April 9, 2021.
It is the responsibility of the courts to interpret the Constitution of Samoa and to ensure that questions arising from the elections are resolved through appropriate judicial process, including on appeal. These processes are ongoing and the results must be respected.
The Chairman of the Legal Council, Dr Jacoba Brasch QC, said that “the Australian legal profession has full confidence in the judiciary of Samoa to resolve these constitutional questions thoroughly and independently, and in accordance with the applicable legal framework”.
“An independent judiciary is the cornerstone of the rule of law and anchors the integrity of the democratic process,” said Dr Brasch QC.
The United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary affirm the duty of governments and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary and to refrain from inappropriate or unjustified interference in the judicial process.
The Principles also affirm that it is for the judiciary to determine whether a matter submitted for decision falls within its jurisdiction as defined by law.
“Judges must be allowed to perform their vital role without pressure, interference or personal attacks,” said Dr Brasch QC.
“Inherent in the rule of law is the principle that all parties are accountable to the law and obligated to respect court decisions. The Legal Council calls on all parties to respect the rule of law and the democratic process aimed at rapidly resolving these issues, ”said Dr Brasch QC.