Niue High Court resumes this week with NZ-based Judge Sarah Reeves presiding
It has been three years since the last New Zealand-based judge was on the island to hear the cases of the Niue High Court. This week Judge Sarah Reeves is presiding and hearing land cases from Tuesday afternoon until tomorrow.
Secretary to Justice and Registrar of the High Court Darren Tohovaka told BCN News that November 2019 was the last time one of the New Zealand judges was on the island because of the pandemic. Tohovaka said that the return of the NZ-based judges is significant in ensuring access to justice is promoted.
“It is very significant to us to ensure that access to justice is promoted and that we have the judges continue to come to Niue bi-annually to preside over cases which are listed to be heard by them.
“We welcome the opportunity and also recognize and appreciate the situation around Covid which prevent us from having these sittings held earlier”
Tohovaka says that Covid 19 has had an impact on the courts with the travel restrictions but people have learned to live with the virus and adapt. The Niue High Court will also adapt but he is always mindful to ensure the safety of the public and the court staff.
“The situation with the world today is that people are learning to live with Covid and that’s no different to Niue. We have to live with Covid as best as we can and provide an environment which is safe for people when they come to court and also for the officials and the court registry staff, so we recognize that’s the situation that won’t change very soon but we have to adapt and move forward.
Because of the travel restrictions to Niue over two years, many of the cases remain outstanding but starting in March next year, the Niue High Court will continue with the bi-annual court sittings with the New Zealand-based judges and the second visit will be in November 2023.
“We have court fixtures which are set for March and November of next year and so at this time we are working on those cases which are still outstanding for our people residing in New Zealand or elsewhere in the world”.
Tomorrow is the last day when Judge Reeves will hear civil matters including the application filed by the Niue Island Sports and Commonwealth Games Association (NISCGA) naming BCN and two others.
The Niue High Court is held in the conference room of the Public Service Building at Fonuakula.