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FIJI—JUDICIAL.

The Melbourne Telegraph's special.. correspondent thus discourses. on matters judicial in Fiji Tinder ' this ' heading a little more about the laws, their administrators, and their administration. I have told you there is a Supreme Court, and that one of its judges is a native chief. The latter is necessary, because in all cases in which natives are concerned it is dosirable that one of . their own chiefs shall be part of the tribunal, as they then feel they will have justico done them. .In cases tried before'a jury atao; tho jury consists of five whites and -five natives. Everything that transpires in Court i 3 interpreted where' natives aro interested. "Where whites only are concerned, the jury numbers only seven, and they of course are palefaces. Besides the Supreme Court, there is what is callod the warden's or provincial courts. These are like the Victorian courts of petty sessions, held in every district, and have Attached to them paid wardens, whose functions are similar to tho police magistrates of Victoria, and honorary justices. In each district both whites and native chiefs aro appointed honorary magistrates. In both courts tho practice of law as followed in Victoria ia adopted,except incases where there is a special; local enactment. All lawyers are called >dvocales, but thoy aro divided into two ~cla*sscs, one being able to practise in,any court, while tho business'of the other is confined entirely to the provincial courts. Almost anybody can become an advocate in the provincial courts, but beforo anyone can be placed on tho roll of advocates of tho Supremo Court he must pass, an examination.. When the Supremo Court was first established there was no such examination, and hence the first oh tho Bpot wero lucky enough to be appointed; advocates of the superior court without possessing any legal attainment whatever, beyond tho necessary amount of roguery and impudence required to | make a good lawyer. The consequence is that ' about eevontj-five por cent, of tho advocates are not lawyers by profession. They have sense enough not to wear wigs, contenting themselves with a gown. Even tho Chief Justice is not a lawyer by profession, though he bad a very good training for his position in liia capacity of law reporter of tho Sydney Morning Herald. He is not caleulated to give one a very high idea of tho tribunal of which he is tho head. His pomposity and the airs he assumes maUo him ridiculous; and ho is a standing joke in Levuka, where, the place being so 'small, his— I will nee a mild term—peculiarities aro woll known. His greatost weakness is vanity. I should judge he has not read tho words'used by tho wise man—" All is vanity and vexation of spirit." But I have not told you

toho-he.ia.. HiaJjaptiSmaliname is Charies-.Sfc£. .Julian,.but.aa he„yery,. creditably, maintained the dignity for aoihe years of consul{general for Sydney for the kingdom of-Hawaii, hia Majesty Kamehaitiehay" formerly king of" those islands, but now among the departed souls of his oountrymen, dubbed him a knightofHa'waii. This increased the weakness; I.havo alluded to, and to addrosa him otherwise than as Sir Oharles is the greatest affront you can offer the learned Chief Justice of Fiji and Chancellor of the Kingdom, for he also bears the latter title. Here is a capital story of him told to mo aa being truoMr. St. Julian—l bog his pardon, Sir Charles —waa ono day met by a very old friend of hia from Sydney. Thia friend did not know of the honor that had been bestowed upon the Hawaiian conaul, so, after haying shaken hands and oxproased tho joy ho felt at the moeting, he naturally asked after the health of " Mrs. St. Julian." Sir Charles increased his stature to the greatest possible extent, and attempting to look dignified, corrected his friend thus—" Lady_ St. Julian, if you please, Mr.—Still, the Chief Justice has some very good points about hitn, but hia ■ overweening vanity lowers him in the esteem of the people. Ho thinks there ia only one man in Ifiji, and that that man ia Sir Charles St. Julian. The second associutod judge is Mr. Joseph Hector Garrick, a young barrister from Sydney, who went to seek his fortune in now fields and pastures now. Aa he had only just beon appointed when I left Levuka, I had no opportunity of seeing him in hia official position, but privately he is likely to bo much appreciated. The namo of the native judge ia Marika—Mr. Justico Marika —or, as he is rnoro generally called, Katu Marika. The prefix, I mast inform, you is the nativo word for chief. He ia a very intelligent man, and watches over the interests'of hia countrymen with painataking oare. Had ho beeii educatod in early life ho would have made a aplendid equity judge. He haa on more than ono occasion astonished his white brethren on the bench by his just and equitable decisions in cases of an intricate character, requiring more than ordinary judgment.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH18731025.2.32

Bibliographic details

FIJI—JUDICIAL., New Zealand Herald, Volume X, Issue 3731, 25 October 1873, Supplement

Word Count
835

FIJI—JUDICIAL. New Zealand Herald, Volume X, Issue 3731, 25 October 1873, Supplement

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