New Zealand Law Society Stands in Support of Samoan Judiciary during Political and Constitutional Impasse

The New Zealand Law Society, Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa, released a statement today standing in support of the Samoan Judiciary during Samoa’s political and constitutional impasse following the general elections held on 9 April 2021.

The Law Society expressed its concern around recent attacks on the Samoan judiciary. President Tiana Epati says, “the Law Society believes that the proper place to resolve these legal and constitutional issues is through the normal judicial process, including appeal. Those processes are now underway, and the outcomes must be respected.

She adds, “New Zealand has a long and close legal association with Samoa. Many of its lawyers have been educated here, and we share a similar legal heritage. We are both parliamentary democracies based on the Westminster system. Shared fundamental principles embedded in both legal systems are of vital importance to the preservation of freedom and good government.”

Tiana Epati President of NZ Law Society (Youtube)
Tiana Epati President of NZ Law Society (NZ Law Society/Youtube)
Judicial independence is a core value of the international community, and Samoa has committed to this as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Trust in the independence of the courts and respect for the rule of law are critical to democratic government. This means that all parties are accountable to the law and subject to the decisions of the courts. When this is undermined, lawyers have a duty to speak out.President New Zealand Law Society Tiana Epati

The Law Society has shared its concerns with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta tweeted this afternoon that New Zealand is concerned about the ongoing political impasse in Samoa and encourages respect for the courts’ decisions.

Feature image credit: Sora Shimazaki (Pexels)