(Jørgen Chemnitz/Sermitsiaq, 30 December 2009) -- When Thomas Trier assumes his new position as judge and head of the Court of Greenland tomorrow, he will be the first to head the legal body established as part of the increasing autonomy granted the country this summer as part of the Self-Rule Act. The court will have 40 employees, including another judge and four legal aides. But Trier has expressed his disappointment over the lack of qualified Greenlandic candidates for the aide positions. “It’s due to the fact that there aren’t a lot of Greenlandic lawyers,” he said. “This is an important social institution, and lawyers themselves, as well as the administration, need to encourage people to study law.” He suggested expanding the legal studies programme at the University of Greenland. Currently law students must take at least some of their courses in Denmark. “Something needs to happen,” Trier said. “The need is enormous, and we need to remember that the judiciary is the third pillar of the separation of powers.” Taking over responsibility for the judiciary is hoped to lead to an increased professionalism amongst the country’s legal professionals. All judges and public defenders are to be hired full-time, and will receive additional training. ... In addition to personnel issues, one of the basic issues facing the new court is office space, especially for circuit courts. “The courthouse in Qaqortoq is too small to house two judges, so it’s a real logistical challenge, and I don’t think a new structure will be in place until 2012. We need to build, we need to procure funds, and there are personnel that need to relocate – as well as those who can’t relocate. We need to cover all our bases.” As the new court finds its feet in the coming weeks, circuit court judges will also be preparing for qualifying exams. “The exams are in March, and hopefully they will nominated by June. Then they need to be approved, so I hope we can have them in place by July. At that point the circuit courts should be operating full-time."
Posted 31 December 2009; 10:52:35 AM. Permalink