Projects

Our Current Projects

Review of the Property Law Act 1952 (Final Report Stage)

Exchange of Information in the Public Sector (Final Report Stage)

Review of the Law Reform Commission Act 2008 (Discussion Paper Completed - Awaiting Cabinet Approval)

Completed Projects

Year 2017

Project Description
On 4 August 2017, the Hon Prime Minister accepted and endorsed the Terms of Reference on a Project entitled ‘The Review of the Laws of Samoa’ initiated by the Commission. The Commission refers to this Project as ‘Toe Timata le Upega – O Tulafono a Samoa’.
The Terms of Reference are as follows:
i) To identify the current fabric of laws (all 285 existing Acts of Parliament) of Samoa;
ii) To identify which Ministries, State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), or Constitutional Offices (COs) are responsible for which laws (legal authority); and
iii) To identify and confirm from Ministries/SOEs/COs any outdated laws under their administration and recommend removal, updating or replacing

Related Reports
Fabric of Laws of Samoa Final Report – English
Fabric of Laws of Samoa Final Report – Samoan

Project Description
In March 2015, the Samoa Law Reform Commission (Commission) received a Terms of Reference (TOR) from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to review the Narcotics Act 1967 (Samoa’s Narcotics Act). The TOR resulted from various concerns on the outdated nature of Samoa’s Narcotics Act, drug – related cases taking up a lot of the Court’s time and resources, and reports of a certain sector of Samoan society which uses methamphetamine.

Related Reports
Review of the Narcotics Act 1967 [Drugs Reform] Final Report – English
Review of the Narcotics Act 1967 [Drugs Reform] Final Report – Samoan

Project Description
The Samoa Law Reform Commission (“Commission”) received a reference from the Attorney General in 2008 to review all Ministry laws with a view to proposing a framework for uniformity in Government Ministry laws. Given the broad scope of the reference, the Attorney General in 2012 narrowed the review to focus specifically on the Ministerial and Departmental Arrangements Act 2003 (the ‘MDAA’ review), with the following Terms of Reference (“TOR”):
– How the MDAA can be updated to reflect the current Ministerial and Departmental structures of all Government Ministries and Corporations; and
– How the MDAA can better become the uniform law establishing government Ministries and related matters.

Related Reports
Ministerial and Departmental Arrangement Act Final Report – English

Project Description
In November 2008, Cabinet and the Attorney General provided the Samoa Law Reform Commission (Commission) with a reference to review and reform the laws regulating Samoan Court processes. The reference included the review and reform of the District Courts Act 1969 (DCA), Judicature Ordinance 1961 (JO), the Supreme Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 1980 (SCR) and Magistrates’ Court Rules 1971 (MCR). Given the size of this project, the Commission broke up the report into parts.

Related Reports
Civil Procedure Rules Final Report – English
Civil Procedure Rules Final Report – Samoan

Project Description
The Samoa Law Reform Commission received a reference from the Honourable Prime Minister, in April 2015, to address abuses of powers of a Matai Sa’o (titular head) of the family. The terms of reference are a response to common complaints of abuse of power by the Matai Sa’o primarily related to matai titles and customary land which has resulted in numerous disputes between family members and the family Sa’o.

Related Reports
Pule a le Matai Sa’o Final Report – English
Pule a le Matai Sa’o Final Report – Samoan

Year 2016

Project Description
In 2008, the Samoa Law Reform Commission (Commission) received a reference from the Attorney General to review the level of compliance of Samoa’s legislation with its obligations under CEDAW.

Related Reports
CEDAW Final Report – English
CEDAW Final Report – Samoan

Project Description
In March 2013, the Samoa Law Reform Commission (Commission) was requested by the Attorney General to review laws relating to the sale and consumption of alcohol with the objective of reducing the harm caused by alcohol in Samoa and to make recommendations for reform.

Related Reports
Alcohol Reform Final Report – English
Alcohol Reform Final Report – Samoan

Year 2015

Project Description
The Attorney General of Samoa in a letter dated 27 November 2008 asked the Samoa Law Reform Commission (“Commission”) to:
– examine the current legal protection of traditional knowledge including the extent of legislative protection under intellectual property laws of Samoa;
– examine Samoa’s obligations under international and regional conventions and agreements relating to traditional knowledge; and
– make recommendations for improvements to legislative protection of Samoa’s traditional knowledge, if further protection is recommended

Related Reports
Protection of Traditional Knowledge Final Report – English
Protection of Traditional Knowledge Final Report – Samoan

Project Description
On 5 February 2013, the Samoa Law Reform Commission received a reference from the Attorney General to assess, if:
– it is appropriate in the context of Samoa to have a Sex Offender’s Register (SOR); and
– if such a register would help in the deterrence of sexual re-offending?

Related Reports
Sex Offender’s Register Final Report – English
Sex Offender’s Register Final Report – Samoan

Year 2013

Project Description
In November 2008, The SLRC received from the Cabinet the reference to review and reform the District Court Act 1969. This reference formed part of the Commission’s review and reform of Samoa’s legislation governing the courts.

Related Reports
District Court Act 1969 Issues Paper
District Court Act 1969 Final Report
Tulafono o Faamasinoga Faaitumalo 1969

Project Description
On the 01 February 2012, the Prime Minister and the Attorney General asked the Samoa Law Reform Commission to examine the feasibility and appropriateness of setting up a National Heritage Board to preserve Samoa’s various national heritage sites. The terms of reference specifically ask the Commission to research how national heritage boards overseas are established and operated.

Related Reports
National Heritage Board Discussion Paper Final
National Heritage Board Final

Project Description
The review of the Care and Protection legislation to protect children and discusses existing legislation in Samoa that addresses care and protection issues relating to children in light of obligations under CRC. It will also make specific references to findings in a report by the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development on the Legislative Compliance Review of Samoa with the Convention on the Rights of a Child in 2006. Given the number of Acts involved, there will be a series of papers following this paper. This initial paper will focus on the Constitution of Samoa, the Infants Ordinance 1961 and the Young Offenders Act 2007.

Related Reports
Care and Protection Issues Paper
Child Care and Protection Legislation Final Report

Year 2012

Project Description
On the 15 November 2011, the Attorney General referred to the SLRC a reference to examine the need for a body to regulate the media in Samoa, and to make recommendations for the establishment of such body.

Related Reports
Media Regulation Issues Paper
Media Regulation Final Report

Project Description
Cabinet has referred down the freedom of religion issue to SLRC to look into ways in which we can legislate to bring harmony into the Village setting through the Village Fono Act. This now coincides with a general reference into the Village Fono Act which SLRC carried out in collaboration with MWCSD and other law and justice sector agencies.

Related Reports
Final Report for the Village Fono Act 1990 and Freedom of Religion

Project Description
The second major reference of the Criminal Law review series this project involves the Criminal Procedure Act 1972. This is a procedural law that sets out the series of steps or actions to be followed in order to validly administer justice. General rules are often inadequate for this purpose. Failure to provide important detail reduces the ability of the law to guide action. This review is intended to make recommendations which will attempt to ensure that individual rights are protected through the just application of rules, while not losing sight of the interests of society as a whole

Related Reports
Criminal Procedure Act 1972 Final Report
Criminal Procedure Act 1972 Final

Year 2011

Project Description
The review of the Commissions of Inquiry 1964 aims at improving and updating legislation governing any Commissions of Inquiry established in Samoa. It looks at appointment of members of the Commission, their powers, the scope of the investigative jurisdiction, and people entitled to be heard before the Commission and the process of publicizing their findings.

Related Reports
Commission of Inquiry 1964 Issues Paper
Commissions of Inquiry Act 1964 Final Report
Commissions of Inquiry 1964 Samoan

Project Description
The review of the Coroners Ordinance 1959 aims at improving and updating legislation governing the coroners work. There is a great need for a comprehensive and appropriate guide to assist and regulate the work of coroners in Samoa.

Related Reports
Coroners Ordinance 1959 Issues Paper
Coroners Ordinance 1959 Final Report
Coroners Ordinance 1959 Final Report Samoan

Project Description
The review of the Law Practitioners Act 1976 aims at improving and updating legislation governing the legal profession in Samoa and also taking into account developments and trends in comparable jurisdictions. It also seeks to strengthen the disciplinary procedures contained in the Act to improve public confidence in the legal profession.

Related Reports
Law Practitioners Act 1976
Law Practitioners Act 1976 Final Report
LPA Samoan FINAL 1976

Project Description
The review of the Prisons Act focuses on the shift towards a correctional approach whereby prisoners will be rehabilitated for integration into society when they have completed their sentence; hence a new correctional-focused legislation for prison administration in Samoa. The result of this review will be improving prison administration in Samoa that complies with international obligations under the relevant human rights conventions to which Samoa is a party, to the extent that it does not conflict with Samoan culture, customs and traditions.

Related Reports
Prisons Act 1967 Issues Paper 1
Prisons Act 1967 Final Report Final English
Prisons Act 1967 Samoan Final

Project Description
In November 2008, the Samoa Law Reform Commission was given a reference into the laws regulating the Samoan Court processes by the Cabinet and the Attorney General. The reference includes the review and reform of the Judicature Ordinance 1961, District Court Act 1969, the Supreme Court (Civil Procedure Rules) and Magistrate Court Rules.

Related Reports
Judicature Ordinance Final Report
Judicature Final Report Samoan Version (Final)

Year 2010

Project Description
One of the 3 major references into Criminal Law, the review into the Crimes Ordinance 1961 was referenced to SLRC by both Cabinet and by the Attorney General. The project encompasses the review into not only modernizing the language of the law but also modernizing the mechanisms by which criminal offences such as rape, assault, and witchcraft to name a few are laid out and prosecuted. This review is done in an effort to keep the cultural integrity of Samoan values and tradition intact within the overall language of the law

Related Reports
Crimes Ordinance 1961 Final Report
Crimes Ordinance 1961 Final Report