Courts now ‘essential service’

The High Court of Solomon Islands.
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THE Government has now recognised the Courts as an “essential service”.

And President of the Solomon Islands Bar Association (SIBA) Eran Soma acknowledges the government for this.

He said since the simulated lockdown in August 2021 courts have been given recognition and the government must be commended in that regard.

He said that ordinary citizens, people of business, victims or accused, all people have a fundamental right to access the Courts at the earliest time despite COVID-19 restrictions to ask for and receive justice according to law.

“I am aware that court services and processes are changing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Specific measures are in place at courts and tribunals to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19,” Soma said.

He also highlighted that Courts cannot function without lawyers, and for completeness, SIBA would like to see legal service must also be considered essential service throughout all COVID-19 restrictions, as in more developed countries.

He said Honiara Emergency Zone had already experienced a number of lockdowns and partial lockdown orders due to the recent community outbreak of COVID-19.

“I would like to see the government, the Chief Justice, all lawyers and public to ensure that all our Courts remain open, protected and freely accessible to anyone regardless of race, colour, creed or political views, but may operate differently under an acceptable protocol or standard operating procedure,” Soma added.