Court of Appeal Orders Head of State and Caretaker Prime Minister be Served


Wednesday 14 July 2021, Apia Samoa.  The Court of Appeal has set this Friday 16 July for the substantive hearing of the case that could well be the final decider of Samoa’s ongoing political crisis. In Court yesterday (Tuesday 13th July) the Appeals Court set down a list of those to be served including the Head of State His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, and Caretaker Prime Minister Hon Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

The case arises from an application by the Attorney General to strike out the ‘tail’ of a Supreme Court decision that declared the FAST swearing-in ceremony under a tent outside Parliament unlawful, but also directly ordered the AG to advise those with the legal responsibilities to ensure Parliament convenes in 7 days.. or the Court would reconsider the legality of the swearing-in under the doctrine of necessity.

During a pre-trial mention yesterday afternoon, Chief Justice Satiu Simativa Perese set down an order listing everyone with an interest in the proceedings to be served, as their presence before the Court may be necessary to enable to the Court of Appeal of effectively and completely adjudicate upon, and settle the questions involved in the action.

The list basically includes every player in the current political crisis, including the Head of State who was top of the Court’s list, as well as the Caretaker Prime Minister, the Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister, all members of the Caretaker Cabinet, the Former/Caretaker Speaker and the Current Clerk of the Legislative Assembly.

Those served have an option and can decide if they want to be in Court, however, if Court orders are handed down requiring them to do or not do something, then they would have had the opportunity to be part of Court proceedings.

The Court of Appeal also accepted an application by the Samoa Law Society to join as an ‘intervener’ which was not objected to by any of the parties.

The Vice President of SLS  Su’a Hellene Wallwork-Lamb says the legal fraternity’s professional body is impartial and would be making submissions on a much broader basis rather than the focused interests of the parties.

“Our submissions will be more along the lines of upholding the Rule of Law, the Constitution and the Powers of the Court..” said Su’a.

The Chief Justice as the President of the Court of Appeal is joined by Justice Leilani Tuala-Warren and Justice Niava Mata Tuatagaloa.

The Court has extended submissions by all parties to be filed by Thursday 15th July 2021.

Sina Retzlaff