Department of Justice & Border Control


Providing Nauruans with quality legal representation and access to justice
Nauru’s Office of the Public Legal Defender is established under the Criminal Procedure Act 1972 (Act).
The Office of the Public Legal Defender aims to provide free legal representation to enable all Nauruans to have access to justice. Our team strives to maintain fair, equitable and efficient legal services to the public, in accordance with the rule of law. The Office of the Public Legal Defender Guidelines ensures that services are rendered in accordance with good governance providing sufficient levels of transparency and accountability of all administrative actions.
The Office of the Public Legal Defender is supervised by the Director of the Office of the Public Legal Defender (Director). The importance of the Office is reflected by the fact that the Director is appointed by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Nauru.
The functions, responsibilities and duties of the Office are to provide legal aid, advice and assistance to people:
  1. who may be charged or have been charged with a criminal offence;
  2. who need aid, advice and assistance in respect of legal proceedings under any other Act; or
  3. where the Nauru Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Nauru or District Court requests or is required under a written law to assign a legal representative to represent a person in a court proceeding.
Depending on the decision of the Director, the Office of the Public Legal Defender is responsible for ensuring that a Nauruan is afforded the right and opportunity to a ‘level playing field’ when fronting the court in a criminal, family or civil case. Our duty is to make Nauruan litigants to feel comfortable and able to present their case in the most meritorious way. This is to ensure that our clients are able to put their case, evidence and legal submissions in a comprehensive manner. Whilst it is the duty of the Nauru Police Force to maintain peace, order and good governance in the community, it is our duty to ensure that those who allegedly break the laws are given their respective human rights through legal representation. This is the way the pendulum swings for the purposes of ensuring fair justice for the victims as well as those who are accused as perpetrators of crime.
The Office establishment consists of the Director, five barristers and solicitors and two pleaders. This comprises the team of legal practitioners in the Office. The administrative support is provided by one paralegal officer.


The Office of the Public Legal Defender is funded by the Government of the Republic of Nauru. Like all government institutions providing public services, services provided by the Office of the Public Legal Defender are needed to maintain a democratically preserved society. In that context, prioritisation of public funds is largely attributed to providing social services to Nauruans. The Government also provides additional funding for engaging legal practitioners from the private bar where it is necessary.


The Director, in consultation with the Secretary, established and published the Guidelines. The Guidelines provide the criteria for providing legal services.

The Guidelines provide a clear statement of the manner in which the Office provides assistance to the applicants. The requirements are publicly stated so that everyone is able to question the decision of the Office on their application.

Members of the public are encouraged to consult our Office even for the purposes of getting preliminary opinions of their legal issues and concerns. We extend our services in such situations to enable any applicant to take appropriate action or further advice.


Republic v Lovani Jeremiah [Criminal Case No: 10/2021] – Supreme Court of Nauru

Date: 05/07/24 before Justice Kiniviliame Keteca.
Counsels: M Suifa’asia (ODPP) and S Hazelman (OPLD).
Charge: Causing Harm to a Police Officer.
Purpose: Judgment.
Minutes: Judgment read out.
Outcome: Client acquitted of Causing Harm to a Police Officer but found guilty of the lesser offence of Obstructing Public Official.
Pre-Sentence Report is to be filed by 12/07/24. Counsels are to file Sentencing submissions by 19/07/24.
26/07/24 for Sentence

Republic v Nene Ika & Others [Criminal Case No: 04/2021] – District Court of Nauru
Date: 10/07/24 before Resident Magistrate Vinay Sharma.
Counsels: K Itsimaera (ODPP) and L Solomon (OPLD).
Charge: Intentionally Causing Harm.
Purpose: Hearing
Minutes: Prosecution called two witnesses. Both witnesses gave evidence that they do not wish to pursue this complaint any longer. They confirmed that they were not forced or induced to withdraw their complaint.
Prosecution closed their case
Defence applied for No Case to Answer Outcome: Court ruled that there is no case to answer. Charges against the Accused persons are dismissed.
All Accused persons are acquitted.
No written Ruling

Sentencing Ruling – Republic v BR [Cr No: 03/24] – Supreme Court

Sentencing Ruling – Republic v Randy Doguape & Ors [Cr No: 13/24] – DC


Form 1 – Application for Legal Aid
Form 2 – Application for Review where Legal Aid is Refused
Form 3 – Withdrawal of Representation
Form 4 – Plea Declaration


The role of the Office is to provide legal representation to eligible persons in the courts of Nauru and to provide legal services to the public.

Nauruan citizens, asylum seekers and refugees are eligible for legal representation in the courts of Nauru.

The Office represents clients in criminal cases, family cases and limited civil cases in the courts of Nauru.

Legal services such as giving legal advice and attestation of documents are available for everyone.

Free legal assistance can be obtained upon the filling up of an application form at the Office and if a person is eligible

There are no legal fees that need to be paid to lawyers in the Office.

The only fees that need to be paid by clients are court fees, maintenance payments, costs, debt recovery and fines which are paid to the Court Registry or to the opposing party.

For criminal cases; the Information, the Charge Sheet, depositions and disclosures need to be provided to the lawyers.

Yes, provided that a person is an eligible person and that it is a criminal case, a family case or a limited civil case.

Yes, a request can be made to the police officers to contact a lawyer from the Office to give legal advice.

You can contact a lawyer from the Office and ask if they can render legal assistance.

The Director of Public Legal Defender can be contacted on 5573506 and the Government Lawyer can be contacted on 5573387.


Ravuanimasei Tagivakatini

Director of the Office of the Public Legal Defender

Shantel Hazelman

Principal Public Legal Defender

Lisa Solomon


Chloe Adeang


Princess Honey Duburiya



Office of the Public Legal Defender
Department of Justice and Border Control
Yaren District
Republic of Nauru

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