Regional law association calls on Samoa to reconsider proposed constitutional reforms

A Pacific-wide lawyers association has joined the international chorus of concern at proposed Constitutional changes in Samoa.

The South Pacific Lawyers' Association, or SPLA, says three controversial bills before Samoa's parliament would erode the independence of the judiciary and threaten the rule of law if enacted.

SPLA says while democracies can chart their own course, Samoa is proposing a way that has implications for the wider region.

Its principal concern is that the bills would compromise judicial independence by allowing a government appointed commission to dismiss judges.

The body says "a judge's tenure should never be subject to political or populist pressure".

It adds that an independent judiciary is fundamental to the rule of law.

The association says it urges the government of Samoa to re-consider its proposal to progress the three bills through Parliament.