Parliament amends law governing Law Reform Commission

Parliament has approved amendments that changed the functions and reporting responsibilities of the Samoa Law Reform Commission.

The law was approved in final reading last Thursday with changes to the appointment of commissioners to manage and consultants to assist law reform projects.  

The amendments came through a motion in Parliament by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi whose portfolio covers the Commission.

He pointed out the functions of the Commission in relation to legislations of Samoa and how it submits relevant recommendations on outdated laws to be repealed. 

“There are laws approved back in the 1960’s that are not really relevant, it’s outdated and needs to be amended and or repealed,” he told Parliament. 

The objective of the Bill is to amend the functions and the reporting responsibilities of the Commission and amend the appointments of commissioners and consultants who assist the Commission in carrying out its functions.

The bill stated that the functions of the Commission are to research and analyse areas of law considered to be in need of reform in accordance with references, made by the Prime Minister, Cabinet or the Attorney General or self-initiated by the Commission. 

Furthermore the Commissioner has to consult with and advise the public about its work and to submit reports providing its recommendations to the Prime Minister, Cabinet and the Attorney General; and arrange for their publication upon Cabinet approval if recommended in its reports and where capacity allows, to draft new or amending laws or proposed legal framework for the approval of the Attorney General. 

Also to promote awareness of the laws of Samoa and to advise government Ministries and agencies on the manner or content of reviews of the law conducted by those Ministries and agencies.”

Under the reporting responsibilities, the Prime Minister shall lay a copy of the report approved by Cabinet, before the Legislative Assembly as soon as practicable after receipt of these reports.

Furthermore, the Commission must provide to the Prime Minister, at least once a year, the following documents: a forward plan of the Commission’s work plan; and an annual report of the Commission’s operations and expenditure. Also controller and Auditor General must audit the accounts of the Commission annually.

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