The Government of the Republic of Nauru

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Office of the Public Legal Defender

 

The DJBC initiated a policy in order to satisfy Article 10(3)(e) of the Constitution, where accused persons have the right to be legally represented in court. As a result, free legal services are now provided to citizens and residents of Nauru.

 

An increase in personnel and resources in the following years paved the way for the legal establishment of the Office via the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act 2016.

 

As the legal literacy rate in Nauru improved, the Office encountered an increase in enquiries, requests and handling of cases in areas of criminal, family and civil laws.

Litigation of criminal, family and civil cases in the Nauru courts remained the prime activity of the Office during the Reporting Period.

 

The Office has also been assisting in the preparation of statutory declarations, certification of documents, witnessing of affidavits, drafting of letters, brokering correspondences and general advice on criminal, civil and family matters for Nauruans on island and abroad.

 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt to overseas training, workshops and meetings, staff of OPLD attend Webinars such as the Pacific Judicial Strengthening Initiative on Legal Aid where the Director proposed for a regional Legal Aid body to be established, in order to address and discuss issues and challenges facing Legal Aid offices.

 

Our Team

 

Position Name
Director of Public Legal Defender Ravuanimasei Tagivakatini
Principal Public Legal Defender Vacant
Senior Public Defender Thomson Lee
Public Defender Francilia Akubor
Pleader (Public Defender) Vacant
Paralegal (Public Defender) Lisa Solomon
Intern Regina Deidenang

 

 

Objectives

 

  • To provide free legal services to the citizens and residents of the Republic of Nauru.

 

 

Motivation

 

Do not be economical with the truth.

 

 

Strategic Plan Priority Area 4: Cost Cutting Sectors

 

Cross-Goal 1

Strengthen Parliament, audit, justice, law, order and border control.

 

 

Achievements

 

Office Policy Guideline

 

An Office Policy Guideline has been drafted by OPLD in order to address issues that the officers face. Once it is implemented, it will clearly demarcate the boundaries of the Office and will be adhered to strictly.

 

The Guideline will help to prevent misunderstanding and lack of communication among OPLD staff, eliminate hasty, unrefined decisions in personal matters and assure uniformity and fairness throughout the practice.

 

It also aims to provide useful information for the provision of legal aid services within OPLD, aiming to prescribe substantive legal aid policies and processes.

 

Continuing Legal Education

 

On 27 November 2020, the Director facilitated a session of the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) initiative for the Nauru Law Society. The presentation aimed at building the knowledge of legal practitioners on legislation that were amended on 23 October 2020 such as the Bail Act 2018, Criminal Procedure Act 1972, District Court Act 2018, Supreme Court Act 2018, Nauru Court of Appeal Act 2018 and Oaths, Affirmations and Statutory Declarations Act 1976.


 

Way Forward


  • The goals for 2021 and beyond are to address the above challenges and continue improving in the relevant areas. The Office Policy Guideline, which has been in its draft stages for more than 6 months, is currently at its concluding stages and once approved by the Secretary for Justice, it will provide much-needed guidance for the daily operations of the Office.
  • Awareness has mostly been done by word of mouth but we intend to educate the public about the Office and also about the recent changes in the law, especially the Bail Act 2018. The public needs to understand the gravity of these offences and that incarceration is almost inevitable now. Hence, the Office is intending to conduct awareness via Nauru Radio and to speak to secondary school students on the above issues.
  • Capacity building remains an important goal for the Office, so it is imperative that Nauruans are able to access legal courses and legal training. The Office will continue to play its role in this aspect, especially with the 2021 Pleaders Course.
  • The Office strives to continue its progress into a more efficient service provider and the onus is on all officers to maintain and improve the expected standard.