The decisions from the Niue High court released on the Pacific Islands legal information institute include an application by two business owners to appeal the decision of the government’s Licensor of Business and a woman in her mid twenties charged with fraud.
In the matter of two business owners who appealed to the Niue high court the decision of the government’s Licensor of business to decline their application to start a bicycle rental, tours and bike maintenance business.
The applicants filed an appeal to the Niue High court that the Licensor of business did not follow due process as required by the 1997 Business licensing Act, by declining their application without conducting a business analysis and not disclosing to them the objections to their business application.
In response the government’s Licensor of business informed the court that decision to decline the business license was completed correctly and that conducting a market analysis is not mandatory and that “It would not be in the public interest to disclose the objections”.
The applicants themselves had sought the assistance of the Chamber of Commerce to conduct a market analysis which was presented to the Court.
The two issues of concern for the court were the fact that the applicants had not been able to consider information put before the Licensor of business, the two objection letters and the lack of a market analysis report.
Chief Justice Coxhead in his decision said “It is one of the basic tenants of natural justice that parties should know the information against them that is being put before a decision maker, unless there are very clear reasons why that information cannot be disclosed. This is necessary to ensure transparent and fair process of decision making”.
Justice Coxhead’s decision of November 5th 2020 granted the appeal and the matter is to be reheard before the Licensor of business. The judge says that in his view, the decision of the government’s Licensor of Business to decline the business application was unsound.
BCN news understands from the applicants that they have yet to receive a decision from the Licensor of business.
In the matter of the woman in her mid twenties charged with several counts of fraud appeared in court in June and pleaded guilty to all charges.
In its decision of 11th of December 2020, the Niue High court sentenced her to 1,040 hours of community service to be served within 24 months. The court ordered that she take responsibility to arrange her community service with the Police department who will monitor her community service.
The woman and her family told the court that they will repay all the monies stolen.
She is also required to undergo counselling for 6 months.