2016 Amendments to Law Commission Now Effective

The recent amendments that were tabled in Parliament in late 2016 by the Minister for Justice and Community Services. The new amendments have now been published in the officialy gazette on May 3rd 2017. This now gives the new amendments legal effect. The amendments were made to allow for more dialogue with the Law Reform Commission and Government stakeholders and general public.


Republic of Vanuatu

Law Commission (Amendment)

Act No. 28 Of 2016    

Arrangement of Sections

1......... Amendments............................................................................................... 2

2......... Commencement..........................................................................................

republic of vanuatu

Assent:                      26/01/2017

Commencement:         03/05/2017

Act NO. 28 OF 2016

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

Be it enacted by the President and Parliament as follows-

1          Amendments

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

2          Commencement

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



1          Title of the Act

Delete “Law Commission, substitute “Law Reform Commission”

2          References to “Law Commission”

Delete “Law Commission” (wherever occurring in the Act), substitute “Law Reform Commission”

3          After section 3A


“3B     Appointment of a Deputy Chairperson

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

(2)        The Deputy Chairperson holds office for 3 years and is eligible for reappointment.”

4          Paragraph 5(4)(f)

Delete “.”, substitute “;”

5          Paragraph 5(4)(g)

Delete “.”, substitute


(h)        to organize meetings of the Commission after consultation with the Chairperson.”

6          Subsection 6(3)

Repeal the subsection, substitute

“(3)      The Chairperson is to preside at all meetings of the Commission and in his or her absence, the Deputy Chairperson is to preside at these meetings.

(4)        Subject to this Act, the Commission may determine and regulate its own procedures.”

7          Sections 7 and 8

Repeal the sections, substitute

“7        Functions of the Commission

(1)        The Commission has the following functions:

(a)        to study and keep under review all laws and to recommend reforms particularly in respect to:

(i)         the removal of anachronisms and anomalies; and

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

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

(b)        to carry out, on its own initiative, studies and research of a legal nature as it considers necessary for carrying out its functions, including research relating to other legal systems; and

(c)        to receive proposals for reviewing a particular area of law from any consultant or any person or authority; and

(d)       to examine critically a law with respect to the matter mentioned in a proposal; and

(e)        to report to the Minister on the results of the examination of a law and make recommendations with respect to the reform of that law; and

(f)        to make law reform proposals to the Minister; and

(g)        to consult with the Ministry or Department to:

(i)         review any aspect of the law; and

(ii)        provide information regarding the review; and

(h)        to carry out public consultations and to consult any person or group of persons in relation to the law reform proposals.

(2)        In addition to subsection (1), the Commission is to examine the law to which the proposal relates to for the purposes of determining and reporting whether the law:

(a)        is old-fashioned, unnecessary, incomplete or otherwise defective; or

(b)        reflects distinctive concepts of custom law, common law and civil law legal systems, and if appropriate the reconciliation of differences in those concepts; or

(c)        is to be changed considering modern conditions, approaches and concepts; or

(d)       must be simplified, codified, repealed or revised.

(3)        The Commission 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.

(4)        The Commission may establish working committees to deal with a particular issue relating to any review of law that has been submitted to it.

(5)        The Commission is to determine the functions and procedures of the working committee.

7A       Powers of the Commission

The Commission has the power to do all things that are necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of its functions under this Act or any other Act.

8          Allowance of members

(1)        A member of the Commission is entitled to an allowance of VT10,000 for each day on which the Commission meets.

(2)        A member of the Commission including the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson is not entitled to any allowance if he or she is not present during any meeting of the Commission.”

8          Section 9A

Repeal the section.

9          Sections 10 and 10A

Repeal the sections, substitute

“10      Protection from liability

The Commission or an officer of the Commission is not liable to any civil or criminal action or other proceeding for damages for or in respect of an act done or omitted to be done in good faith in the exercise or performance, or purported exercise or performance of a function or power conferred on him or her by this Act.

10A     Duty to consult with the Commission

(1)        A Ministry or Department who intends to review its laws must consult with the Commission.

(2)        A Ministry or Department must not instruct a consultant or any other person or authority to review its laws without the prior written approval of the Commission.”

10        Paragraph 12(2)(a)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute


“(a)      the procedural rules of the office of the Commission;”

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