The Law Reform Process
The law reform process generally follows set steps:
Reference to Commission
The Commission receives a reference either from the Attorney-General, Prime Minister or Cabinet. The terms of the Reference set out the scope of the review. The Commission works within the boundaries set by this framework, but may also advise on related issues not specifically identified in the Reference.
The Commission carries out research on all issues identified in the Reference to prepare an Issues Paper. Further research and analysis is carried out to prepare the Final Report. This often requires examination of the laws and practices of Samoa and comparison with other jurisdictions.
The Commission identifies all groups and individuals that may be interested and ultimately affected by any change to the law. It invites consultation with these people to hear their views about the law, and how it could be improved or changed. Experts may also be consulted about a particular issue.
The consultations may take place in a central location to allow all members of the public to attend, or where the affected area or people are more remotely located, the Commission’s representatives may go to those locations.
As part of its consultation process, the Commission calls for submissions on the issues identified in the Issues Paper. All submissions are considered by the Commission.
Submissions can be made via the website, email, post, personal delivery at the office of the Commission or at consultation meetings.
The Commission prepares and publishes an Issues Paper, which usually highlights problems and includes a series of questions about the main issues under consideration. Sometimes options will be included in these papers and further submissions will be invited from all affected people and groups. The Issues Paper is intended to stimulate discussion and to encourage interested persons to provide feedback, so that their views can be considered by the Commission before recommendations for reform are made.
Final Report with Recommendations
The Commission prepares and publishes a Final Report following its extensive research and consultations. Final Reports include recommendations as to proposed reform.
The Final Report must be tabled in Parliament.
Ultimately, Parliament decides whether there is to be any change to the law.