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Judges Must Allow Litigation To Flow: Gates

Judges must allow the litigation to flow and they would be wrong to interfere without proper cause when the counsel wishes to present his or her case, says Chief Justice
02 Sep 2017 13:01
Judges Must Allow Litigation To Flow: Gates
Chief Justice Anthony Gates.

Judges must allow the litigation to flow and they would be wrong to interfere without proper cause when the counsel wishes to present his or her case, says Chief Justice Anthony Gates.

Speaking on Day One of the Fiji Law Society’s annual convention currently underway at the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort on Yanuca Island along the Coral Coast, the Chief Justice took a jibe at judges whose attitude changed after they are admitted to the Bar, calling it a disease called “judgitis”.

“Easy to diagnose, difficult to cure. None of this makes for a happy day in court or makes counsel feel they has been treated justly, normally and fairly. That was not much to ask,” Mr Gates said.

However, Chief Justice Gates said it is right for the judge to communicate to counsel areas of the case in which he needs guidance.

“Though the judge should not prevent counsel getting into his stride, it is helpful to know where the judge has doubts on the strength of your case. You have an opportunity afforded of dealing with these doubts and applying your persuasive techniques. Persuasion is part of advocacy. We want to be before judicial officers who do not know it all.

“We want them to have patience and the ability to listen with an open mind, a mind with a capacity for being persuaded,” he said.

He also advised lawyers be enter courtrooms well prepared and thorough.

Chief Justice Gates also informed the convention that implementation will soon begin on video recordings of court proceedings.

He also asked lawyers to help in advising and mentoring younger members of the Bar.

“You were young and raw once and at times thrown into court ill-briefed and confused. I always remember those judges who read between the lines, knowing that a junior counsel had been sent along to explain away somebody else’s mess or laxity.

“The bench has an educative role and there are times, properly, a judge can allow justice to be done and for a case to be properly heard.”

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

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