BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
THE 2022 legal opened on Monday, with Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer thanking churches for continuing to uphold the work of the courts in their prayers and for the support and encouragement given to the judiciary.
“As we commence the opening of our legal year, let us pause to give thanks to God Almighty for his faithfulness and goodness in safely leading us through the tumultuous waters of 2021 to the safe harbours of 2022.
“We have not travelled this way before and so it is important to commit our way to the Lord, for He is the Way, and ask him to lead us safely through the unchartered waters of 2022, to make the pathway of justice, plain and clear to follow, and to bring us safely through to complete this year successfully,” Sir Albert highlighted.
Sir Albert stressed that 2021 has not been an easy year in the delivery of justice and like other Government agencies, financial issues continue to be a pressing challenge in keeping up with the scheduled work plans and outputs for the year.
The ongoing negative effects of Covid-19 continues to impact the capacity of the courts to sit timely and conduct hearings and sittings as scheduled, apart from maintaining basic registry and court services.
Sir Albert highlighted the challenges faced by the courts and also thank donor partners for their continuous support to the judiciary and courts.
“We are extremely grateful to the Australian government for its unwavering support through Australia’s Solomon Islands Justice Program.
“After the court announced the cancellation of all remaining circuits and CLAC sittings for the year, Australia generously stepped in to offer financial support.
“With an injection of an additional $460,000 the Court was able to deliver 13 sitting weeks of circuits in Seghe, Munda, Noro, Taro, Kulitanai, Buala, Kia, Malu’u, Atori, Afio, Tulagi, Yandina and Marau, and the November sittings of the Customary Land Appeal Court proceeded in Western, Malaita, Guadalcanal and Makira Provinces.
“We express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the Australian government for this vital, timely and much-welcome support.
“Finally, as we put our shoulders to the wheel again this year, let us all strive together to keep the courts’ doors open for those seeking justice through the courts,” Sir Albert said.
“This is not going to be an easy year for us but with God’s grace, strength and blessings we will do our best to serve our people and make justice available within our means, Sir Albert said.
He also highlighted that due to the current health crisis, court doors will be managed strictly to ensure that the health and wellbeing of all is at the forefront, while continuing to deliver justice this year. More and more hearings will seek to be done by remote means to ease the risk of the spread of the virus to others.
“We ask for your patience, understanding and cooperation as we seek to strive together to deliver justice in the midst of a health crisis,” Sir Albert added.