Outgoing President of LTC issues press statement



This Press Release is issued in response to the media reports regarding the decision of the Honourable Prime Minister to remove me as President of the Land and Titles Court (the ‘LTC’). As I understand it, the decision to remove me is based on section 67(6) of the Land and Titles Act 2020. The Prime Minister made her decision known to me in writing on 20 October and reaffirmed it through a letter dated 28 October 2022. She informed me that my last day is this Monday, 31 October 2022.

Respectfully, it is my firm position that the decision to remove me under section 67(6) is inconsistent with the Constitution which requires that only the Head of State can remove the President of the LTC following a two third majority vote in the Assembly. That has not been done.

Another ground for removal is where there has been a failure to carry out the duties of the President of the LTC. That is not the ground relied upon by the Honourable Prime Minister.

The Supreme Court in the case of President of the Land and Titles Court v. Attorney General [2022] WSSC 8 (14 April 2022) considered section 67(6) and determined that the summary removal of Judges of the LTC without process cannot be the desired effect of that provision. Yet, that has occurred: I have been removed summarily without process.

For those reasons, I have lodged a challenge in the Supreme Court for that Court to consider the legality of the decision of the Honourable Prime Minister. Whatever the decision of the Honourable Court, I will respect. I can only respectfully request discretion in the public discussion and discourse regarding this decision while we await a decision from our Courts.

Ae pe taumuaea i nuu lelei pe tafea foi i moana vale, o loo soifua le Atua Pule Aoao e pule i le au ma le matagi, aua o le a foi le sa e ulitu i le faatumana o le ava ma le feai ia o ataata sala, e opomoa ma totoe Lona Alofa laveai e uligai ai faataumatagi.

Faamanuia le Sapati paia o le Alii.

Letufuga Attila Manutopule Ropati