FIJI ISLANDS
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map courtesy CIA World Factbook; click for enlargement Constitution, Government & Legislation

The President of the Fiji Islands (head of state) is appointed for a 5-year term by the Great Council of Chiefs, a traditional ethnic Fijian leadership body. The president in turn appoints the Prime Minister (head of government) and cabinet from among the members of parliament. Both houses of the legislature have seats reserved by ethnicity. The Senate is appointed; the House of Representatives is elected.

There are four administrative divisions (central, eastern, northern and western), each under the charge of a commissioner. Ethnic Fijians have their own administration in which councils preside over a hierarchy of provinces, districts, and villages. The councils deal with all matters affecting ethnic Fijians. The Great Council of Chiefs (Bose Levu Vakaturaga) contains every hereditary chief, or Ratu, of a Matagali, or Fijian clan.

Source: U.S. Department of State

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Courts & Judgments

The Fiji Judiciary is completely independent of the legislative and executive branches of government. Judicial power of the State is vested in the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court and in such other courts as are created by law. The final appellate court of the State is the Supreme Court.

The High Court consists of the Chief Justice and a number of puisne judges not less than 10. It has unlimited original jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil or criminal proceedings under any law and such other original jurisdiction as is conferred on it under the Constitution.

The Court of Appeal consists of a Judge, other than the Chief Justice, also appointed as President of the Court of Appeal, such other judges as are appointed as Justices of Appeal; and the puisne judges of the High Court. This court has jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from all judgments of the High Court, and has such other jurisdiction as is conferred by law.

The Supreme Court is made up of the Chief Justice, to be the President of the Supreme Court; such other judges as are appointed as judges of the Supreme Court; and the Justices of Appeal. The Court has exclusive jurisdiction, to hear and determine appeals from all final judgments of the Court of Appeal.

The President appoints the Chief Justice on the advice of the Prime Minister following consultation by him or her with the Leader of the Opposition.

Judges of the Supreme Court, the Justices of Appeal (including the President of the Court of Appeal) and the puisne judges of the High Court are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Judicial Services Commission. This follows consultation by it with the Minister for Justice and the sector standing committee of the House of Representatives responsible for matters relating to the administration of justice.

The term of appointment of the Chief Justice, a Justice of Appeal (including the President of the Court of Appeal) or a judge of the Supreme Court expires upon his or her reaching the age of 70.

Source: Fiji Ministry of Information

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