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Access to justice

Luke Nacei
Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Unlike in many countries, in Fiji there are access to justice challenges that needs to be addressed, says European delegation team leader for governance and natural resources Ingrid Swinnen.

Ms Swinnen, during the launch of the Fiji Access to Justice Project, said these challenges arose both from remoteness and increasing urbanisation in Fiji.

"Awareness and access to services is challenging for those living in remote rural areas and outer islands," Ms Swinnen said.

She said access to justice was the right of all citizens, no matter how poor or disadvantaged, to seek remedies for injustice not only in law but also practice.

"Support to the justice sector is one of the principle avenues for promoting democratic governance, the rule of law, respect for human rights and thereby socioeconomic development. The European Union-funded Fiji Access to Justice Project supports access to justice for vulnerable groups."

Ms Swinnen also said the project would empower people to access legal services through key justice institutions and improve service delivery.

"Lack of finances to travel to areas where service delivery is accessible combined with the lack of information and poor communication facilities often remain a major impediment. For both the judiciary and the Legal Aid Commission there is an ongoing challenge of understanding fully the needs of the people they serve and raising awareness of the services they provide," she added.

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