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Monday 6 February 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Court, National


Change in High Court fees
Secretary of Justice Tamatoa Jonassen. Photo: Supplied/ 22011015

The Ministry of Justice started reviewing their High Court fees in 2019 and 2020 but was put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ministry’s secretary, Tamatoa Jonassen said the review was supported by the former Minister for Justice Rose Brown and current Minister for Justice Vaine “Mac” Mokoroa.

Jonassen said the three primary changes include the Land Succession Application fees. This has been reduced by $25 per application.

“The practice of requiring a separate application for each district on the island has been removed, which should result in further savings to those submitting succession applications,” he said.

Jonassen said it was recognised that the 2016 High Court Fees regulations had significantly increased succession fees from the 2005 regulations.

“Which raised concerns around access to justice as land succession is directly linked to your ability to exercise your land rights.”

He said cumulative fees for MOAOs (Meetings of Assembled Owners) are increasing by $50.

And fees for copies of documents have been “greatly simplified and decreased” to $2 a page (capped at $50 per document), similar to fees set in 1997 (approximately 25 years ago).

“The 2016 fees were complex and inconsistent across divisions of the High Court,” Jonassen said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice is working with Cook Islands Investment Corporation to install the first publicly accessible lift in the Cook Islands at the Ministry building in Rarotonga.

While putting out the tender in May last year, the Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) said funds had been set aside in late 2021 for the installation of an elevator in the Ministry of Justice and Courthouse building in Avarua.

Completion of this project was identified as a key performance target in the CIIC Statement of Corporate Intent 2021-2025 document compiled in 2021 and aligns with CIIC’s vision of providing quality assets that serve the Cook Islands people.

Project manager Tangianau Taoro then said this will be the first passenger lift in the country – a lift that needs to be fit for purpose for the elderly, infirm and those with disabilities.

“It will address the concerns of these groups of people who have had issues with accessing the courthouse and the Ministry of Justice services,” she said.