02 June 2009
Mr John Cauchi is the newly appointed Attorney General whom was sworn in on the 29th of May, 2009 at the Privy Council.
The Attorney General is the First Law Officer for the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga. The Attorney General of Tonga is not a Minister of the Crown, and will thus not be a member of Cabinet, Privy Council or the Legislative Assembly of Tonga. The Attorney General however will still hold the same powers and privileges of a Minister of the Crown.
The change of the nature of the office of Attorney General from the previous appointment is an initiative by His Majesty to ensure that the Attorney General performs his legal functions independent of Government, as part of His Majesty's vision for Constitutional Reform and Good Governance.
The Attorney General's main responsibility is to direct the legal services provided by the Crown Law Department for the Government. These legal services include the following:
- Providing legal advice to His Majesty's Cabinet, and Government Ministries and Departments;
- Drafting legislation for Government to be submitted to the Legislative
- Conducting criminal prosecutions on behalf of the Crown (The Crown meaning His Majesty the King and the community at large)
- Representing the Crown in civil, land and where appropriate, family litigation;
- Performing law officers roles for the Judiciary; and
- Facilitating community law initiatives promoting the rule of law and legal awareness.
In addition to the Crown Law Department's legal services, the Attorney General will also be responsible for the following:
- Supporting constitutional integrity and governance
- Ensuring legislative and statutory efficacy
- Facilitating Government's lawful and responsible legal dealings
- Providing legal advice on law reform
- Executing statutory enforcement powers
- Performing responsibilities in an independent and transparent manner
Meanwhile, the Solicitor General Mr ‘Aminiasi Kefu who was appointed last month is the Deputy to the Attorney General, and is the Head of Department of the Crown Law Department. He is responsible for implementing the directions of the Attorney General, and the daily administration and operations of the Crown Law Department.
Mr Cauchi is from Australia and is highly qualified in his profession. He holds a wealth of experience within the Pacific region and further abroad. He has been a Barrister for over 20 years and spent 10 years working in the Pacific. He was the Director for Prosecution in the Solomon Islands and was a Senior Prosecutor and Advisor in Vanuatu. He was also formerly the Senior Crown Counsel in the Crown Law Department for the Kingdom of Tonga in November 1996 - March 2001.
The Ministry of Justice and Crown Law welcomes the new Attorney General and wishes him well in his new position.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Information and Communications, Hon. ‘Eseta Fusitu'a is the Acting Minister for Justice which became effective as from Monday 1st of June, 2009.
(Issued and Published by the Ministry of Information, www.minfo.gov.to); Located at the Top Level of the Tonga Development Bank, Fatafehi Road, Nuku'alofa.
Ph: (676) 28 173/28 170; Fax: (676) 24861)