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Constitution of Fiji (2013)

1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1

2


3Preamble

4WE, THE PEOPLE OF FIJI,

5RECOGNISING the indigenous people or the iTaukei, their ownership of iTaukei lands, their unique culture, customs, traditions and language;

6RECOGNISING the indigenous people or the Rotuman from the island of Rotuma, their ownership of Rotuman lands, their unique culture, customs, traditions and language;

7RECOGNISING the descendants of the indentured labourers from British India and the Pacific Islands, their culture, customs, traditions and language; and

8RECOGNISING the descendants of the settlers and immigrants to Fiji, their culture, customs, traditions and language,

9DECLARE that we are all Fijians united by common and equal citizenry;

10RECOGNISE the Constitution as the supreme law of our country that provides the framework for the conduct of Government and all Fijians;

11COMMIT ourselves to the recognition and protection of human rights, and respect for human dignity;

12DECLARE our commitment to justice, national sovereignty and security, social and economic wellbeing, and safeguarding our environment,

13HEREBY ESTABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION FOR THE REPUBLIC OF FIJI.

14CHAPTER 1. THE STATE

151. The Republic of Fiji

16The Republic of Fiji is a sovereign democratic State founded on the values of-

17 a.common and equal citizenry and national unity;

18 b.respect for human rights, freedom and the rule of law;

19 c.an independent, impartial, competent and accessible system of justice;

20 d.equality for all and care for the less fortunate based on the values inherent in this section and in the Bill of Rights contained in Chapter 2;

21 e.human dignity, respect for the individual, personal integrity and responsibility, civic involvement and mutual support;

22 f.good governance, including the limitation and separation of powers;

23 g.transparency and accountability; and

24 h.a prudent, efficient and sustainable relationship with nature.

252. Supremacy of the Constitution

261. This Constitution is the supreme law of the State.

272. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, any law inconsistent with this Constitution is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency.

283. This Constitution shall be upheld and respected by all Fijians and the State, including all persons holding public office, and the obligations imposed by this Constitution must be fulfilled.

294. This Constitution shall be enforced through the courts, to ensure that-

30 a.laws and conduct are consistent with this Constitution;

31 b.rights and freedoms are protected; and

32 c.duties under this Constitution are performed.

335. This Constitution cannot be abrogated or suspended by any person, and may only be amended in accordance with the procedures prescribed in Chapter 11.

346. Any attempt to establish a Government other than in compliance with this Constitution shall be unlawful, and-

35 a.anything done to further that attempt is invalid and of no force or effect; and

36 b.no immunities can lawfully be granted under any law to any person in respect of actions taken or omitted in furtherance of such an attempt.

373. Principles of constitutional interpretation

381. Any person interpreting or applying this Constitution must promote the spirit, purpose and objects of this Constitution as a whole, and the values that underlie a democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom.

392. If a law appears to be inconsistent with a provision of this Constitution, the court must adopt a reasonable interpretation of that law that is consistent with the provisions of this Constitution over an interpretation that is inconsistent with this Constitution.

403. This Constitution is to be adopted in the English language and translations in the iTaukei and Hindi languages are to be made available.

414. If there is an apparent difference between the meaning of the English version of a provision of this Constitution, and its meaning in the iTaukei and Hindi versions, the English version prevails.

424. Secular State

431. Religious liberty, as recognised in the Bill of Rights, is a founding principle of the State.

442. Religious belief is personal.

453. Religion and the State are separate, which means-

46 a.the State and all persons holding public office must treat all religions equally;

47 b.the State and all persons holding public office must not dictate any religious belief;

48 c.the State and all persons holding public office must not prefer or advance, by any means, any particular religion, religious denomination, religious belief, or religious practice over another, or over any non-religious belief; and

49 d.no person shall assert any religious belief as a legal reason to disregard this Constitution or any other law.

505. Citizenship

511. All citizens of Fiji shall be known as Fijians.

522. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, all Fijians have equal status and identity, which means that they are equally-

53 a.entitled to all the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship; and

54 b.subject to the duties and responsibilities of citizenship.

553. Citizenship of Fiji shall only be acquired by birth, registration or naturalisation.

564. Citizens of Fiji may hold multiple citizenship, which means that-

57 a.upon accepting the citizenship of a foreign country, a person remains a citizen of Fiji unless he or she renounces that status;

58 b.a former citizen of Fiji, who lost that citizenship upon acquiring foreign citizenship, may regain citizenship of Fiji, while retaining that foreign citizenship unless the laws of that foreign country provide otherwise; and

59 c.upon becoming a citizen of Fiji, a foreign person may retain his or her existing citizenship unless the laws of that foreign country provide otherwise.

605. A written law shall prescribe-

61 a.the conditions upon which citizenship of Fiji may be acquired and the conditions upon which a person may become a citizen of Fiji;

62 b.procedures relating to the making of applications for citizenship by registration or naturalisation;

63 c.conditions relating to the right to enter and reside in Fiji;

64 d.provisions for the prevention of statelessness;

65 e.rules for the calculation of periods of a person's lawful presence in Fiji for the purpose of determining citizenship;

66 f.provisions relating to the renunciation and deprivation of citizenship; and

67 g.such other matters as are necessary to regulate the granting of citizenship.

68CHAPTER 2. BILL OF RIGHTS

696. Application

701. This Chapter binds the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government at all levels, and every person performing the functions of any public office.

712. The State and every person holding public office must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights and freedoms recognised in this Chapter.

723. A provision of this Chapter binds a natural or legal person, taking into account-

73 a.the nature of the right or freedom recognised in that provision; and

74 b.the nature of any restraint or duty imposed by that provision.

754. A legal person has the rights and freedoms recognised in this Chapter, to the extent required by the nature of the right or freedom, and the nature of the particular legal person.

765. The rights and freedoms set out in this Chapter apply according to their tenor and may be limited by-

77 a.limitations expressly prescribed, authorised or permitted (whether by or under a written law) in relation to a particular right or freedom in this Chapter;

78 b.limitations prescribed or set out in, or authorised or permitted by, other provisions of this Constitution; or

79 c.limitations which are not expressly set out or authorised (whether by or under a written law) in relation to a particular right or freedom in this Chapter, but which are necessary and are prescribed by a law or provided under a law or authorised or permitted by a law or by actions taken under the authority of a law.

806. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, this Chapter applies to all laws in force at the commencement of this Constitution.

817. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, laws made, and administrative and judicial actions taken, after the commencement of this Constitution, are subject to the provisions of this Chapter.

828. To the extent that it is capable of doing so, this Chapter extends to things done or actions taken outside Fiji.

837. Interpretation of this Chapter

841. In addition to complying with section 3, when interpreting and applying this Chapter, a court, tribunal or other authority-

85 a.must promote the values that underlie a democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom; and

86 b.may, if relevant, consider international law, applicable to the protection of the rights and freedoms in this Chapter.

872. This Chapter does not deny, or prevent the recognition of, any other right or freedom recognised or conferred by common law or written law, except to the extent that it is inconsistent with this Chapter.

883. A law that limits a right or freedom set out in this Chapter is not invalid solely because the law exceeds the limits imposed by this Chapter if the law is reasonably capable of a more restricted interpretation that does not exceed those limits, and in that case, the law must be construed in accordance with the more restricted interpretation.

894. When deciding any matter according to common law, a court must apply and, where necessary, develop common law in a manner that respects the rights and freedoms recognised in this Chapter.

905. In considering the application of this Chapter to any particular law, a court must interpret this Chapter contextually, having regard to the content and consequences of the law, including its impact upon individuals or groups of individuals.

918. Right to life

92Every person has the right to life, and a person must not be arbitrarily deprived of life.

939. Right to personal liberty

941. A person must not be deprived of personal liberty except-

95 a.for the purpose of executing the sentence or order of a court, whether handed down or made in Fiji or elsewhere, in respect of an offence of which the person had been convicted;

96 b.for the purpose of executing an order of a court punishing the person for contempt of the court or of another court or tribunal;

97 c.for the purpose of executing an order of a court made to secure the fulfilment of an obligation imposed on the person by law;

98 d.for the purpose of bringing the person before a court in execution of an order of a court;

99 e.if the person is reasonably suspected of having committed an offence;

100 f.with the consent of the person's parent or lawful guardian or upon an order made by a court, for the purpose of the person's education or welfare during any period ending not later than the date of his or her 18th birthday;

101 g.for the purpose of preventing the spread of an infectious or contagious disease;

102 h.for the purpose of the person's care or treatment or for the protection of the community if he or she is, or is reasonably suspected to be, of unsound mind, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or a vagrant; or

103 i.for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of the person into Fiji or of effecting the expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal of the person from Fiji.

1042. Subsection (1)(c) does not permit a court to make an order depriving a person of personal liberty on the ground of failure to pay maintenance or a debt, fine or tax, unless the court considers that the person has wilfully refused to pay despite having the means to do so.

1053. If a person is detained pursuant to a measure authorised under a state of emergency-

106 a.the person must, as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any event within 7 days after the start of the detention, be given a statement in writing, in a language that the person understands, specifying the grounds of the detention;

107 b.the person must be given the opportunity to communicate with, and to be visited by-

108 i.his or her spouse, partner or next-of-kin;

109 ii.a legal practitioner;

110 iii.a religious counsellor or a social worker; and

111 iv.a medical practitioner;

112 c.the person must be given reasonable facilities to consult with a legal practitioner of his or her choice;

113 d.the detention must, within one month and thereafter at intervals of not more than one month, be reviewed by a court; and

114 e.at any review by a court, the person may appear in person or be represented by a legal practitioner.

1154. At any review of the detention under subsection (3), the court may make such orders as to the continued detention of the person.

11610. Freedom from slavery, servitude, forced labour and human trafficking

1171. A person must not be held in slavery or servitude, or subjected to forced labour or human trafficking.

1182. In this section, "forced labour" does not include-

119 a.labour required in consequence of a sentence or order of a court;

120 b.labour reasonably required of a person serving a term of imprisonment, whether or not required for the hygiene or maintenance of the prison; or

121 c.labour required of a member of a disciplined force as part of his or her duties.

12211. Freedom from cruel and degrading treatment

1231. Every person has the right to freedom from torture of any kind, whether physical, mental or emotional, and from cruel, inhumane, degrading or disproportionately severe treatment or punishment.

1242. Every person has the right to security of the person, which includes the right to be free from any form of violence from any source, at home, school, work or in any other place.

1253. Every person has the right to freedom from scientific or medical treatment or procedures without an order of the court or without his or her informed consent, or if he or she is incapable of giving informed consent, without the informed consent of a lawful guardian.

12612. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure

1271. Every person has the right to be secure against unreasonable search of his or her person or property and against unreasonable seizure of his or her property.

1282. Search or seizure is not permissible otherwise than under the authority of the law.

12913. Rights of arrested and detained persons

1301. Every person who is arrested or detained has the right-

131 a.to be informed promptly, in a language that he or she understands, of-

132 i.the reason for the arrest or detention and the nature of any charge that may be brought against that person;

133 ii.the right to remain silent; and

134 iii.the consequences of not remaining silent;

135 b.to remain silent;

136 c.to communicate with a legal practitioner of his or her choice in private in the place where he or she is detained, to be informed of that right promptly and, if he or she does not have sufficient means to engage a legal practitioner and the interests of justice so require, to be given the services of a legal practitioner under a scheme for legal aid by the Legal Aid Commission;

137 d.not to be compelled to make any confession or admission that could be used in evidence against that person;

138 e.to be held separately from persons who are serving a sentence, and in the case of a child, to be kept separate from adults unless that is not in the best interests of the child;

139 f.to be brought before a court as soon as reasonably possible, but in any case not later than 48 hours after the time of arrest, or if that is not reasonably possible, as soon as possible thereafter;

140 g.at the first court appearance, to be charged or informed of the reasons for the detention to continue, or to be released;

141 h.to be released on reasonable terms and conditions, pending a charge or trial, unless the interests of justice otherwise require;

142 i.to challenge the lawfulness of the detention in person before a court and, if the detention is unlawful, to be released;

143 j.to conditions of detention that are consistent with human dignity, including at least the opportunity to exercise regularly and the provision, at State expense, of adequate accommodation, nutrition, and medical treatment; and

144 k.to communicate with, and be visited by,-

145 i.his or her spouse, partner or next-of-kin; and

146 ii.a religious counsellor or a social worker.

1472. Whenever this section requires information to be given to a person, that information must be given simply and clearly in a language that the person understands.

1483. A person who is deprived of liberty by being detained, held in custody or imprisoned under any law retains all the rights and freedoms set out in this Chapter, except to the extent that any particular right or freedom is incompatible with the fact of being so deprived of liberty.

14914. Rights of accused persons

1501. A person shall not be tried for-

151 a.any act or omission that was not an offence under either domestic or international law at the time it was committed or omitted; or

152 b.an offence in respect of an act or omission for which that person has previously been either acquitted or convicted.

1532. Every person charged with an offence has the right-

154 a.to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law;

155 b.to be informed in legible writing, in a language that he or she understands, of the nature of and reasons for the charge;

156 c.to be given adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence, including if he or she so requests, a right of access to witness statements;

157 d.to defend himself or herself in person or to be represented at his or her own expense by a legal practitioner of his or her own choice, and to be informed promptly of this right or, if he or she does not have sufficient means to engage a legal practitioner and the interests of justice so require, to be given the services of a legal practitioner under a scheme for legal aid by the Legal Aid Commission, and to be informed promptly of this right;

158 e.to be informed in advance of the evidence on which the prosecution intends to rely, and to have reasonable access to that evidence;

159 f.to a public trial before a court of law, unless the interests of justice otherwise require;

160 g.to have the trial begin and conclude without unreasonable delay;

161 h.to be present when being tried, unless-

162 i.the court is satisfied that the person has been served with a summons or similar process requiring his or her attendance at the trial, and has chosen not to attend; or

163 ii.the conduct of the person is such that the continuation of the proceedings in his or her presence is impracticable and the court has ordered him or her to be removed and the trial to proceed in his or her absence;

164 i.to be tried in a language that the person understands or, if that is not practicable, to have the proceedings interpreted in such a language at State expense;

165 j.to remain silent, not to testify during the proceedings, and not to be compelled to give self-incriminating evidence, and not to have adverse inference drawn from the exercise of any of these rights;

166 k.not to have unlawfully obtained evidence adduced against him or her unless the interests of justice require it to be admitted;

167 l.to call witnesses and present evidence, and to challenge evidence presented against him or her;

168 m.to a copy of the record of proceedings within a reasonable period of time and on payment of a reasonably prescribed fee;

169 n.to the benefit of the least severe of the prescribed punishments if the prescribed punishment for the offence has been changed between the time the offence was committed and the time of sentencing; and

170 o.of appeal to, or review by, a higher court.

1713. Whenever this section requires information to be given to a person, that information must be given as simply and clearly as practicable, in a language that the person understands.

1724. A law is not inconsistent with subsection (1)(b) to the extent that it-

173 a.authorises a court to try a member of a disciplined force for a criminal offence despite his or her trial and conviction or acquittal under a disciplinary law; and

174 b.requires the court, in passing sentence, to take into account any punishment awarded against the member under the disciplinary law.

17515. Access to courts or tribunals

1761. Every person charged with an offence has the right to a fair trial before a court of law.

1772. Every party to a civil dispute has the right to have the matter determined by a court of law or if appropriate, by an independent and impartial tribunal.

1783. Every person charged with an offence and every party to a civil dispute has the right to have the case determined within a reasonable time.

1794. The hearings of courts (other than military courts) and tribunals established by law must be open to the public unless the interests of justice require otherwise.

1805. Subsection (4) does not prevent-

181 a.the making of laws relating to the trials of children, or to the determination of family or domestic disputes, in a closed court; or

182 b.the exclusion by a court or tribunal from particular proceedings (except the announcement of the decision of the court or tribunal) of a person other than parties and their legal representatives if a law empowers it to do so in the interests of justice, public morality, the welfare of children, personal privacy, national security, public safety or public order.

1836. Every person charged with an offence, every party to civil proceedings, and every witness in criminal or civil proceedings has the right to give evidence and to be questioned in a language that he or she understands.

1847. Every person charged with an offence and every party to civil proceedings has the right to follow the proceedings in a language that he or she understands.

1858. To give effect to the rights referred to in subsections (6) and (7), the court or tribunal concerned must, when the interests of justice so require, provide, without cost to the person concerned, the services of an interpreter or of a person competent sign language.

1869. If a child is called as a witness in criminal proceedings, arrangements for the taking of the child's evidence must have due regard to the child's age.

18710. The State, through law and other measures, must provide legal aid through the Legal Aid Commission to those who cannot afford to pursue justice on the strength of their own resources, if injustice would otherwise result.

18811. If any fee is required to access a court or tribunal, it must be reasonable and must not impede access to justice.

18912. In any proceedings, evidence obtained in a manner that infringes any right in this Chapter, or any other law, must be excluded unless the interests of justice require it to be admitted.

19016. Executive and administrative justice

1911. Subject to the provisions of this Constitution and such other limitations as may be prescribed by law-

192 a.every person has the right to executive or administrative action that is lawful, rational, proportionate, procedurally fair, and reasonably prompt;

193 b.every person who has been adversely affected by any executive or administrative action has the right to be given written reasons for the action; and

194 c.any executive or administrative action may be reviewed by a court, or if appropriate, another independent and impartial tribunal, in accordance with law.

1952. The rights mentioned in subsection (1) shall not be exercised against any company registered under a law governing companies.

1963. This section shall not have retrospective effect, and shall only apply to executive and administrative actions taken after the first sitting of the first Parliament elected under this Constitution.

19717. Freedom of speech, expression and publication

1981. Every person has the right to freedom of speech, expression, thought, opinion and publication, which includes-

199 a.freedom to seek, receive and impart information, knowledge and ideas;

200 b.freedom of the press, including print, electronic and other media;

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  • Theoretical/Philosophical
  • Historical Commentary
  • Constitutional Interpretation
  • Current Events
  • International Perspectives
  • Other
  • separation of powers
  • rules
  • Rufus King
  • slave
  • slave labor
  • slavery
  • slave trade
  • Revolution
  • republicanism
  • presidency
  • Oliver Ellsworth
  • record
  • records
  • republican
  • representation
  • slaves
  • states
  • William Jackson
  • Western Territory
  • Virginia Plan
  • taxes
  • taxation
  • three-fifths clause
  • twenty-year compromise
  • vice president
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • North Carolina
  • new states
  • delegates
  • Delaware
  • contract clause
  • Dred Scott
  • due process
  • Elbridge Gerry
  • economics
  • Congress
  • confederation
  • Antifederalist
  • anti-slavery
  • Articles of Confederation
  • Bill of Rights
  • confederacy
  • compromise
  • electoral college
  • failures
  • Luther Martin
  • legislature
  • judicial branch
  • Magna Carta
  • morality
  • New Jersey Plan
  • navigation acts
  • journal
  • John Dickinson
  • Federalist
  • federalism
  • General Pinckney
  • George Washington
  • James Madison
  • international trade
  • 3/5 clause
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