No one is above the law, says Fiji’s Attorney General

Graham Leung

“No one, including the elected Government of the day, is above the law”, says Fiji’s Attorney General, Graham Leung.

While delivering his maiden speech in Parliament this week, Leung said that the rule of law was central to the nation’s democracy.

He said not being a member of any political party allowed him a degree of independence.

“I am not a politician. First and foremost, I am a lawyer,” he noted.

A month in his new position, Leung believes his duty is to promote respect for the law in all government affairs, which include ensuring “public access to government held information”.  

“The right to know is central for upholding other basic human rights, for promoting transparency, justice and development. It underpins and strengthens democracy,” he said.

“When the people are informed, government can be held accountable for its actions and policies,” he added.

The Attorney General said he intends to seek the endorsement of Cabinet to proceed with implementation of the Information Act as soon as possible.

“Once the Act is in force, it will allow access to information to improve the lives of people, making available to them information relating to education, health care, and other public services,” he said.

The Attorney General said he would work with the Cabinet to introduce a Code of Conduct to cover Ministers and senior government officials. 

He said that it would play an important role in strengthening integrity in government.

Legal aid

While commending the work of the Legal Aid Commission, the Attorney General noted that the growing demand for its services might require some tightening of the eligibility rules for accessing legal aid.

“A society that values liberty and justice for all must ensure that our citizens, especially the poorest, can have access to legal aid,” he said.

The Attorney General recognised the challenges to make the Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (FHRADC) an effective and credible national human rights body.

He emphasised the need for the FHRADC to meet minimum international standards, founded on pluralism, independence, and effectiveness.

Highlighting the unfinished business before Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption (FICAC), the Attorney General stressed the importance and urgency of holding individuals accountable for corruption. 

He warned of the destabilising potential of corruption, and its threat to the rule of law and the country’s economic development.

Leung urged FICAC staff to perform their duties fearlessly according to law, “reaffirming the constitutional mandate to prosecute those who have stolen from the public purse or had abused their office for personal gain.”

The Attorney General said that FICAC must never again be used as a weapon to remove or punish the government’s political opponents.

“That would be an abuse of power, and unacceptable. Fiji is not a police or totalitarian state.

“Our long nightmare is over – there can be no returning to the dark days of tyranny where agents of the state were arbitrarily sent to the homes of people who were considered to stand in the way of the government.”

Leung also said that law reform is vital to the legal system and the country. 

“Fiji’s laws cannot remain static. They must keep abreast of changing social, economic and other developments in our country and outside it.

Globalisation and the rapid pace of technological innovation will require a change of mindset and new possibly laws. Artificial Intelligence, cybercrime, money laundering, new trading agreements and climate change means that Fiji must be ready to deal with new and emerging problems.


The Attorney-General said that an independent, impartial, honest, and competent judiciary was essential to uphold the rule of law and public confidence. 

Recognising complaints from the public about delays in the courts, Leung commended the work undertaken by a Committee chaired by the Acting Chief Justice. 

This Committee had reviewed the rules of civil procedure. The Attorney General said while this was a good start, a comprehensive overhaul might be needed.

With reference to the recent judicial appointments, the Attorney General said that while he was a strong supporter of localisation, it should not come at the expense of competence and integrity.

The Attorney General said “there should be a good mix of locals and expatriate judges who could mentor young judicial officers.”


Reflecting on Fiji’s fifty years of independence, the Attorney General lamented the country’s underdeveloped sense of nationhood. 

Leung called for a renewed understanding and commitment to nationhood, emphasizing shared values and the importance of goodwill, tolerance, and understanding. 

He warned against insular politicians sowing the seeds of division and distrust, which had come at great human and financial cost.

Despite the challenges, the Attorney General expressed optimism about Fiji’s future, noting the country’s promise and hope was supported by the goodwill of its people. 

“For all its faults and frailties, Fiji remains a country full of promise and hope. “I believe as a country, our best days are ahead of us,” Leung said.