Apted Cautions on Development of Fijian Law System

Seasoned Fiji lawyer Jon Apted has cautioned on the development of a Fijian law system.

Defense Minister Pio Tikoduadua suggested initiating this system during the Fiji Law Society Convention at Sigatoka, incorporating “customary laws and practices” for a culturally sensitive framework.

“The development of a unique Fijian jurisprudence also means placing a greater emphasis on customary laws and practices. Our traditional customs and societal structures offer a wealth of
knowledge and guidance that can inform modern legal interpretations and solutions,” Tikoduadua said. “By harmonising customary practices with contemporary legal principles, we can create a more holistic and culturally sensitive legal framework.”

Apted acknowledged the merit, but pointed out that it would require careful work – in view of Fiji’s diverse community and the need to ensure that everyone is protected.

“It is laudable objective and is a good thing but needs to be done very, very carefully,” Apted said. “We cannot assume that what we regard as traditional is good. We cannot regard as traditional the same as for everyone in our society.

“If we accept tradition perhaps women and children will be treated unjustly. If we accept what is traditional, the beliefs of other groups won’t be respected,” Apted said.

“The challenge is to do and develop a Fijian common law in a way that reflects the diversity of our community that protects everyone.”

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