Court Stops Hotel Building Project

Fiji Court Halts Hotel Construction

The High Court of Fiji has brought all construction activities of a hotel on the island to a standstill. The hotel, which is currently being developed by Pacific Building Solutions Ltd (PBS), received an injunction due to various legal complications surrounding the legality of the land on which it is being built.

The Legal Complications

The legal case was instigated by a collective of traditional landowners, who claimed that due process was not followed in obtaining rights to the land in question. These landowners declared that customary land rights had been disrespected, leading them to seek legal redress. As a result, the court has issued a temporary injunction halting all work on the hotel construction site.

The Case at Hand

Justice Visvanath Wati, presiding over the case, stated that the landowners’ case held enough merit to temporarily halt construction. Wati indicated that due to such substantial allegations of impropriety, the court needed to authorize the injunction until the case could be comprehensively scrutinized.

Fiji’s laws distinctly protect customary land rights. These rights reflect the country’s respect for its traditional custodians and their descendants – the iTaukei’s connections to their customary and ancestral lands. The hotel’s construction, therefore, facing roadblocks due to perceived inconsideration for these ancient rights throws light on the cultural relevance of this case.

Pacific Building Solutions’ Reaction

Pacific Building Solutions Ltd, on the other hand, seems to have expected the injunction. Their Managing Director, Michael Fairfax, confirmed that the company had taken a “strategic pause” in construction for some weeks before the court decision. The pause was enacted to evaluate the project following discussions with prominent stakeholders, including the landowners who have now taken them to court.

Future Developments of the Case

The future of the hotel will largely hinge upon the legal process in the coming months. Justice Wati set the case’s next hearing for early 2022. Until then, all construction work on the hotel is to remain suspended.


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