Samoa Appoints New Chief Justice

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Amidst announcements of Samoa entering into a State of Emergency due to the global coronavirus pandemic, is confirmation that Satiu Simativa Perese has been appointed the country’s Chief Justice.

The constitutional appointment is made by the Samoa Prime Minister and was announced by a press release issued this evening.

Afioga Vui Clarence Nelson has been Acting Chief Justice of Samoa since the retirement of Patu Falefatu Sapolu in April 2019. At the time, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told the media that Vui would serve as Acting CJ for Samoa while he “waited on the Holy Spirit for his guidance on who will best suit the position”.

Chief Justice Satui Simativa Perese

Tonight’s press statement outlines the background of Satui as a 58 year old born in Maagiagi where he began his education at Maagiagi Primary School before migration to New Zealand to continue primary and secondary schooling.

“Satiu is the son of Satiu Fea Leasuasu Perese of Salimu, Fagaloa. His mother is Ulufafo Samau of Tanugamanono.”

Samoa’s new CJ graduated with an LLB from Victoria University of Wellington in 1989, and was conferred with LLM with Honours from Columbia University in New York in 1996. He was the first Pacific Islander to be awarded a Harkness Fellowship in 1995 from the Commonwealth Fund in New York.

He has 30 years of experience as a lawyer that began in 1990 in the Crown Law Office in Wellington, New Zealand. He later moved to Auckland to become the Staff Solicitor and became an Associate in 1993. He is a barrister sole to date.

His areas of practice include judicial review, human rights, immigration, employment, properties securities, commercial litigation, company insolvency, property, land, trust law, charitable trusts, professional negligence, and criminal law litigation.

Satiu was admitted to the bar in Samoa in 1999, and has been admitted on a case by case in the Cook Islands.

Over his 30 years of experience in the law and justice sector, Satiu was a member of the Human Rights Review Tribunal from 2003-2009. He was a member of the Auckland Crown Solicitor Prosecution Panel. He was also the Chair of the Cabinet of New Zealand appointed Board of the National Pacific Radio Trust, and a he was the President of the Pacific Lawyers Society from 2000-2002.