Vanuatu Sessional Legislation
Commencement: 14 September 1998
REPUBLIC OF VANUATU
STATE LAW OFFICE ACT
NO. 4 OF 1998
Arrangement of Sections
PART I - PRELIMINARY
PART II - STATE LAW OFFICE
3. State Law Office
4. Minister Responsible For Office
5. Head of Office
PART III - ATTORNEY-GENERAL
6. Principal Functions of Office
7. Appointment of Attorney-General
8. Qualifications of Attorney-General
9. Term of Office and Employment
10. Role, Functions and Powers of Attorney-General
11. Independence of Attorney-General
12. Exercise of the Attorney-Generals Functions and Powers
PART IV - LEGAL OFFICERS OF THE STATE
13. Legal Officers
15. Parliamentary Counsel
16. State Counsel
17. Appointment of Legal Officers
18. Terms of Employment
19. Independence of Legal Officers
PART V - SUPPORT STAFF
20. Support Staff
PART VI - GOVERNMENT AND THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL
21. Interference with Attorney-General and Office prohibited
22. Duty to consult with Attorney-General
PART VII - MISCELLANEOUS
23. Legal Officers not entitled to Private Practice
25. Rights of Attorney-General, Solicitor-General and Legal Officers
REPUBLIC OF VANUATU
STATE LAW OFFICE ACT
NO. 4 OF 1998
An Act to provide for a state law office and for the legal officers of the State.
BE IT ENACTED by the President and Parliament as follows:
2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:
"Attorney-General" means the person appointed as Attorney-General under section 7;
"Office" means the State Law Office;
"Government" means the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu and includes, for the purposes of this Act, those elected members of Parliament, comprising the Government;
"Legal officer" means a person appointed to the State Law Office under this Act and includes the Attorney-General.
STATE LAW OFFICE
STATE LAW OFFICE
3. There is hereby established a State Law Office.
MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR OFFICE
HEAD OF OFFICE
5. The Attorney-General shall be the head of the Office.
PRINCIPAL FUNCTIONS OF OFFICE
6. The principal functions of the Office, shall be:
(a) to provide advice to, and represent the Government on, legal matters that may be referred to it by the President, the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister, a Minister, a director-general of a ministry, or director of a department; and
(b) to provide legislative drafting services to Government.
APPOINTMENT OF ATTORNEY-GENERAL
QUALIFICATONS OF ATTORNEY-GENERAL
(a) been in practice as a barrister or solicitor or both in Vanuatu or in a Commonwealth country or French territory or partly in one and partly in one of the others for a period of, or periods amounting in aggregate to, not less than 7 years; and
(b) has been admitted to practice in Vanuatu as a legal practitioner.
TERM OF OFFICE AND EMPLOYMENT
(2) The Attorney-General may on 3 months notice resign from office in writing addressed to the Prime Minister.
(3) The Attorney-General may only be removed from office by the President on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission for disability, bankruptcy, neglect of duty, incompetence or misconduct.
(4) Subject to the provisions of any other enactment the salary, and any allowances and other entitlements of the Attorney-General shall be determined by the Judicial Service Commission.
ROLE, FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF ATTORNEY-GENERAL
(2) The Attorney General shall be vested with all such duties. functions and powers as may be provided for by the Constitution. statute and at common law.
(3) The Attorney-General shall participate in all meetings and deliberations of the Council of Ministers for the purpose of providing independent legal advice but shall have no vote, and shall not be deemed to be a member of the Council.
(4) The Attorney-General shall have a right of audience in, and shall take precedence over, any other person appearing before any court or tribunal.
INDEPENDENCE OF ATTORNEY-GENERAL
(2) The Attorney-General is not to be subject to the direction of any other person or body in the exercise of his or her functions.
EXERCISE OF THE ATTORNEY-GENERALS FUNCTIONS AND POWERS
(2) Notwithstanding the delegation of functions under subsection (1), the Attorney-General must supervise his or her legal officers and remain responsible for their performance of such functions.
(3) Any function authorised or required by any enactment or at common law to be performed by the Attorney-General may be discharged by the Solicitor-General if.
(a) the office of the Attorney-General is vacant; or
(b) the Attorney-General is unable to act owing to absence or illness; or
(c) the Attorney-General authorises the Solicitor-General to act in any particular case.
(4) During any period when the office of Attorney-General is vacant, any certificate, petition, direction, notice, proceeding or other document, matter or thing whatsoever authorised or required by any enactment to be given, delivered. served. taken or done to, on or against the Attorney-General, may be given, delivered served taken or done to, on or against the Solicitor-General.
LEGAL OFFICERS OF THE STATE
13. There shall be appointed to the Office, the following legal officers:
(a) a Solicitor-General; and
(b) a Parliamentary Counsel; and
(c) Such other legal officers, to be known as State Counsel, as are required to assist in fulfilling the functions of the Office.
APPOINTMENT OF LEGAL OFFICERS
(2) No person shall be appointed to the Office as a legal officer unless that person:
(a) is admitted to practice in Vanuatu as a legal practitioner; and
(b) has sufficient experience and ability to fulfil the role to which he or she is to be appointed; and
(c) is approved by the Judicial Service Commission.
TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT
(2) The salary and any allowances and entitlements shall be as determined by the Attorney-General in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission.
(3) In the appointment of a legal officer the Attorney-General must have regard to the budget available to the Office.
INDEPENDENCE OF LEGAL OFFICERS
(2) A legal officer is not to be subject to the direction of any other person or body in the exercise of his or her functions other than by the Attorney-General.
(2) The Government will ensure that there is a sufficient budget allocated to the Office to enable it to properly fulfil its functions. The Attorney- General must have regard to that budget when employing staff.
(3) No person will be deemed to be employed in the Public Service by reason of appointment under this section.
GOVERNMENT AND THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL
INTERFERENCE WITH ATTORNEY-GENERAL AND OFFICE PROHIBITED
DUTY TO CONSULT WITH ATTORNEY-GENERAL
(2) The President or Government will not instruct a private legal practitioner in matters of State without the prior written approval of the Attorney-General.
(3) The Attorney-General may when he or she considers it prudent or when the circumstances warrant, engage a private legal practitioner to undertake legal work on behalf of the Office.
LEGAL OFFICERS NOT ENTITLED TO PRIVATE PRACTICE
(2) The Attorney-General may grant prior written approval to a legal officer (but may not himself or herself,) or private practitioner temporally appointed to the Office whatever his or her designation, to carry on private practice, subject to such conditions as the Attorney-General may impose, and may from time to time cancel such permission or vary or add to the conditions.
RIGHTS OF ATTORNEY-GENERAL, SOLICITOR-GENERAL AND LEGAL OFFICERS
27. The Law Officers Act [CAP. 11 8] is repealed.
28. This Act shall come into force on the date of its publication in the Gazette.