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Law Commission (Amendment) Act 2012


ACT NO. 24 OF 2012

Arrangement of Sections

1 Amendment
2 Transitional
3 Commencement


Assent: 13/11/2012
Commencement: 21/11/2012

ACT NO. 24 OF 2012

An Act to amend the Law Commission Act [CAP 115].

Be it enacted by the President and Parliament as follows-

1 Amendment

The Law Commission Act [CAP 115] is amended as set out in the Schedule.

2 Transitional

(1) This section applies to the person who was employed as the Secretary of the Commission immediately before the commencement of this Act.

(2) On and after that commencement, the person is to continue to be employed as the Secretary for a period of 4 years from the date on which this Act comes into force.

3 Commencement

This Act commences on the day on which it is published in the Gazette.



1 Section 1 (Interpretation)

Insert in their correct alphabetical positions:

member means a member of the Commission;

office means the office of the Commission.”

2 Sections 3, 4 and 5

Repeal the sections, substitute

3 Members of the Commission

(1) The Commission consists of 5 members.
(2) The Minister may by Order, appoint the following persons as members of the Commission:

(a) 1 legal officer of the State Law Office nominated by the Attorney General;

(b) 2 persons unconditionally registered as legal practitioners and currently practicing law for not less than 7 years nominated by the Vanuatu Law Society;

(c) 1 person nominated by the National Council of Chiefs who is knowledgeable in traditional custom and has sound knowledge of laws;

(d) 1 person nominated by the National Council of Youths who has a tertiary qualification.

(3) At least 1 person appointed under paragraph 2(b) must be a male and another to be a female.

(4) A member is appointed for a period of 3 years and is eligible for re-appointment.

3A Appointment of a Chairperson

(1) The Minister is to appoint a Chairperson from amongst the members of the Commission.

(2) The Chairperson is to be appointed for a period of 3 years and is eligible for reappointment.

4 Removal and Resignation of members of the Commission

(1) The Minister may, by Order remove a member from office if he or she:

(a) ceases to hold office under which he or she was appointed under paragraph 3(2) (b); or

(b) is absent from 3 consecutive meetings of the Commission without the prior consent of the Chairperson or without reasonable excuse; or

(c) is incapacitated or unable to perform his or her functions as a member.

(2) A member may resign by giving a notice of his or her resignation in writing to the Minister.

5 Secretary of the Commission

(1) The Minister is to appoint a Secretary of the Commission on the recommendation of the Commission.

(2) A person must not be recommended for appointment under subsection (1) unless he or she has a degree in law from a recognized university.

(3) The Secretary is to be appointed for a period of 4 years and is eligible for reappointment.

(4) The Secretary has the following functions:

(a) to develop and review corporate policies and procedures for the operation of the Commission;

(b) to manage all staff and finances of the Commission;

(c) to advise the Chairperson and members on law reform issues through strategic briefing and the preparation of reports;

(d) to research and investigate options to facilitate the process of law reform;

(e) to develop, manage and continually review the output and publication of the Commission;

(f) to monitor research results and developments under each reference area and review all final drafts of reports before publication.

(g) to be responsible for the day to day operations of the office.

(5) The Secretary may seek legal opinion from the Attorney General on any matter in relation to the performance of the functions of the Commission under this Act.”

3 Sections 5A and 5B

Repeal the sections, substitute

5A Other staff

The Commission may appoint other staff of the office for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission under the Act.

5B Appointment of an Expert Advisor

(1) The Commission may appoint an expert advisor from time to time on such terms and conditions to assist it in carrying out its functions under this Act.

(2) The Commission must consult the Director General prior to making an appointment under subsection (1).”

4 Subsection 6(2)

Repeal the subsection, substitute

“(2) The quorum at a meeting of the Commission is 3 members present at that meeting.”

5 At the end of subsection 6(3)

Delete “.”, substitute

“including the proceedings at its meetings as it thinks fit and is to keep minutes of those proceedings.”

  1. Sections 7, 8 , 9,10 and 11

Repeal the sections, substitute

7 Functions of the Commission

The function of the Commission is to study and keep under review the laws of Vanuatu and to recommend reforms particularly in respect to:

(a) the removal of anachronisms and anomalies; and

(b) the reflection in the law of the distinctive concepts of custom, the common and civil law legal systems and the reconciliation where appropriate of difference in those concepts; and

(c) the development of new approaches to and new concepts of the law in keeping with and responsive to the changing needs of Vanuatu Society, of groups within that society and of individual members of that society.

8 Allowance of members

A member of the Commission is entitled to an allowance of VT 10, 000 for each day on which the Commission meets.

  1. Funds of the Commission

The funds of the Commission consists of:

(a) monies appropriated by Parliament; and

(b) any other monies received by the Commission from other persons.

9A Consultation with the Commission on Government Bill

(1) The Ministry or department sponsoring a government Bill must provide a copy of the Bill prepared by the State Law Office to the Commission for its comments.

(2) The Commission must provide its comments on the Bill to the relevant Ministry or department before the Bill is submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval.

  1. Procedure concerning private members Bill

(1) The Speaker must within 7 days from the date of receiving a Bill submitted to Parliament, provide a copy of the Bill to the Commission for consideration and comments.

(2) The Commission may consider and provide comments on the Bill in writing to the Speaker within 10 days from the date of receiving such Bill.

(3) If the Commission fails to consider and provide comments to the Speaker within the specified period under subsection (2), it may be inferred by the Speaker that the Commission does not have comments on the Bill.

(4) The Speaker must provide copies of the comments of the Commission on a Bill to members of Parliament before introduction or debate of such Bill.

(5) In this section “Bill” means a private members Bill.

10A Interference prohibited

A person must not interfere with the Commission in the performance of its functions under this Act whether or not the person is employed by the Government.

11 Annual Reports

(1) The Commission must provide a report of its activities for the previous year to the Minister within 3 months after the end of each year.

(2) The report referred to under subsection (1) must be tabled by the Minister as soon as practicable before Parliament.

(3) The Commission may upon request provide copies of the report to members of the Public.”

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