The Fijian Coup Cases - The Constitution, Reserve Powers and the Doctrine of Necessity
Australian Law Journal, Vol. 83, No. 5, pp. 319-330, 2009
18 Pages Posted: 8 May 2009
Date Written: May 5, 2009
If a coup d'état, of necessity, overturns the rule of law, then it is both unusual and potentially self-defeating for a court to rule on its legality. That is why cases on coups are both rare and the object of fascination. How does a court of a country that has been subject to a coup d'état accommodate the strict application of the rule of law with recognition of the reality of a new governing regime and the serious risk to public safety that might flow from its judgment? To what extent does the 'doctrine of necessity' justify extra-constitutional action? This article discusses how the Fijian courts have dealt with these dilemmas.
Keywords: coup d'état, reserve powers, doctrine of necessity, Constitution, extra-constitutional action, democracy, rule of law, military regimes, elections, dissolution of Parliament, dismissal of Prime Minister
JEL Classification: K10, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation