Twenty-nine (29) Magistrates are advancing their expertise with 11 Judges through an exchange of knowledge and experience in key areas of professional concern in relation to the Fiji Family Laws. The programme also aims to ensure persons with disabilities enjoy the right to access to justice on an equal basis with others in Family Law justice procedure. The two-day workshop for Magistrates is supported by the Fiji Access to Justice Project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Acting Chief Justice Hon. Justice Kamal Kumar said, “The Family Law Workshop that the Judicial Department conducts annually aims to improve people’s experience in accessing justice by making justice processes more efficient with regards to the issues under the Family Laws. Given the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for each officer to refresh and upgrade their expertise to be able to address people’s increasing needs for justice. Of particular focus in this programme is the training on the new Adoption Act 2020 and Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”
Ambassador of the European Union for the Pacific, His Excellency Sujiro Seam said, “The Family Law Workshop represents another milestone and the EU is delighted to be in a position to support such an important initiative. The workshop provides a platform for important discussion on current practices, skills and knowledge, ultimately contributing to a greater effectiveness of the justice system. More importantly, this will reinforce citizens' confidence in the fairness of proceedings as well as awareness and protection of their rights.’’
The Fiji Access to Justice Project supports access to justice for impoverished or vulnerable groups. It does so by empowering people to access their legal rights and services, strengthening key justice institutions to deliver improved services, and strengthening the capacity of civil society organisations (CSOs) to deliver justice accompaniment services, with a special focus on supporting persons with disabilities and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji said, “This partnership with the Judicial Department and the EU has been truly rewarding by putting people at the centre of development.”
“In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, people’s confidence in the justice system is more important than ever and UNDP will strive to improve people’s access to justice in Fiji and globally,” he added.
Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for promoting the rule of law and ensuring equal access to justice for all. The Fiji Access to Justice Project supports Fiji’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, with focus on Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and Goal 5: Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls.
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