Consultation on family laws underway

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 16 November 2023, 7:00PM

A consultation is currently underway to review laws that were enacted during Samoa's colonial period which govern the welfare of children and other family safety matters.

The stakeholders’ consultation is underway for six family laws which are administered by the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration. The Chief Executive Officer for the ministry, Papalii John Taimalelagi said the consultation followed previous work by the commission which led to the reform and a report getting tabled in 2022. 

The laws include the Infants Ordinance 1961, the Marriage Ordinance 1961, the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Ordinance 1961, the Maintenance and Affiliation Act 1967, the Family Safety Act 2013 and the Family Court Act 2014. 

The C.E.O. noted that the report tabled in 2022 recommended looking into the family laws in Samoa that cover adoptions and other related matters.

“These are laws from the New Zealand time and it's about time we review those laws,” said Papalii. “There were amendments made in previous years but it doesn’t fully address other matters. 

“The new laws on Family Safety Act 2013 it is more about protection orders and domestic violence in families and that needs reviewing again.”    

Consultations with stakeholders are underway while public consultation for Savaii starts next week Friday and Upolu is scheduled for the following week. 

In the past the S.L.R.C. carried out preliminary discussions with the M.J.C.A. in relation to family laws and a terms of reference was developed by the Commission and consequently approved by the Office of the Attorney General in 2018. 

A total of 13 public consultations were carried out and a final report for the review of the family laws in Samoa was completed and submitted to Cabinet for endorsement. 

The cabinet then ordered the commission to carry out further consultations with other Government entities before reporting back to the Cabinet. 

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 16 November 2023, 7:00PM
Samoa Observer

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