Her Worship Loupua Pahulu-Kuli of Houma –‘Utulau, Tongatapu, Kingdom of Tonga took up appointment as Senior Magistrate of the Magistrate Courts of Tonga on 1 January 2020. She is one of the three female Magistrates now presiding in the Magistrate Courts of Tonga. Upon this appointment, Loupua became a life peer. She is currently serving in the Vava’u District as the only Resident Magistrate for a term of 2 years. She has a broad jurisdiction presiding in criminal and civil cases in the Magistrate Court. She has also chaired the Fire Department’s Appeal Commission in two appeal cases. Loupua is also a coroner for her District and also the whole of Tonga. She has been working tirelessly to deliver justice in a timely manner and to make sure that nothing less than her best is delivered in her work as a judicial officer for the Kingdom of Tonga.
Loupua started her school at Houma Government Primary School in her village of Houma, Tongatapu. She continued to Tonga High School for her intermediate years. She completed her High School at the Catholic School of ‘Apifo’ou College before attending the Tonga National Form 7. She continued to the Auckland University in Auckland, New Zealand to pursue a Bachelor of Science. During her studies in New Zealand she was a tutor in Form 5 Science in Waitakere College. Loupua returned to Tonga and started teaching Science subjects at ‘Apifo’ou College for a year before starting to work for the Ministry of Justice as English/Tongan interpreter for the Courts.
Witnessing first handed the injustice because people cannot afford legal costs was the fundamental motivation for Loupua to pursue Law. With the support of Chief Justice Anthony Ford of the Supreme Court of Tonga, Loupua pursued her studies in Law on a part time basis and working full time. She was awarded a scholarship from the Australian Government and pursued her studies for LLB at the University of the South Pacific at Emalus Campus, Port Vila, Vanuatu. Loupua graduated as the valedictorian in addition to receiving top-student awards for various Law courses. Loupua is a Gold-Medallist for All-Round Best Female graduand. She completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Profession and Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Drafting. She has completed her LLM with thesis under a scholarship awarded from the University of the South Pacific.
Loupua has vast experience and in-depth knowledge of Tongaʻs legal system as former translator, interpreter, teacher, prosecutor, researcher, legal drafter, legal adviser, and as a consultant. She has been trained locally and internationally on various subject matters including, but not limited to fundamentals of judging, crime prevention, leadership and time management, budget analysis, serving our community from a judicial perspective, fraud and corruptions, human trafficking and so much more legal related issues. Loupua’s work experiences extend to both the international organisations, Government Ministries and private sectors. As a private lawyer she focused mainly on helping people who cannot afford legal costs. It was part of Loupua’s commitment as a private practitioner to do as much pro bono work for those who need her help, as much as she could. Loupua’s notable legal work, in a very short period of 1 year, led her to be elected as the President of the Tonga Law Society for two years before her appointment as a Magistrate. For a female Magistrate whose life has been spent to find equality, a hectic schedule is an understatement. She thrives on fighting for the workers’ rights in the work place. She is passionate to improve the reality of the legal system of Tonga to find justice for all.
Loupua authored a few publications relating to land issues of Tonga and some chapters in a few academic Pacific Island issue related textbooks. She has also published some articles relating to juvenile rehabilitation and land. Loupua is friendly and approachable, enjoys helping people who are less fortunate, and love spending time with family. She is happily married to Maʻafu and is the mother of two wonderful children, Loupua Jr and Viliami Jr. Loupua and her family are long standing members of the St. Vincent de Paul community of the Catholic Church whose mandate is to cater for the less fortunate people. Her motto in life is as Saint Francis of Assisi said - “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”