Annual Report of the Vanuatu Law Commission (VLC). The past year has resulted in some significant developments for the VLC. While the Law Commission Act [Cap 115] (the Act) has been in place since 1980, steps to formally establish the VLC were not taken until 2009. In August 2011, the first Secretary of the VLC, Mrs Bertha Pakoasongi, was appointed. During the year, the VLC has been working on establishing the office of the Secretariat of the VLC. To this end, the VLC has established procedures by which the office will function. Procedures that have been established include those for submitting a reference to the VLC for consideration and for the acceptance of references by the VLC.
The VLC has also been developing a website and brochures informing the public of the VLC’s functions. It is hoped that Government agencies as well as community organisations and the general public will be able to use this knowledge in order to utilise the VLC for law reform where appropriate.
This year has also seen the resignation of Mr Russell Nari from his role as Chairman of the VLC, leaving that position vacant. The coming year promises to be a busy one for the VLC. Amendments to the Law Commission Act [Cap 115] have passed Parliament are expected to be gazetted early in 2012. We expect that a new Commission will be appointed.
We are aiming to recruit more support staff to assist the Secretary in 2012. There will be an emphasis on building a strong team of legal research officers to undertake research and develop working papers on law reform for the VLC. The VLC will utilise technical assistance from donors to assist with building the capacity of new staff where possible.
The VLC has to date received three proposals to undertake law reform reviews. Consideration of these reviews is on hold pending the outcome of amendments to the Commission Act [Cap 115]. The VLC has also received notice of our budget for the coming year, which will place some constraints on our ability to undertake some projects and recruit staff and will necessitate that we may need to shorten consultation processes or seek donor assistance for some projects