Crown Law

CROWN LAW DEPARTMENT

BACKGROUND:

The Crown Law Department was created by His Majesty's Government in 1988 to replace the Crown Solicitor's Office.

Before then, the Crown Solicitor's Office had provided legal services for His Majesty's Government.

The office of the Attorney General was then created as the Ministerial Head of Crown Law, and the office of the Solicitor General was created as the Head of Department for the new Crown Law.

The first Attorney General was Hon Tevita Poasi Tupou, who was before then the Crown Solicitor. The first Solicitor General was Mr 'Aisea Havea Taumoepeau.

The role of Crown Law since 1988 has been to provide to His Majesty's Government with the traditional legal services provided by the Law Officers, including legal advice, litigation (prosecutions, and civil and land matters), and legisaltive drafting.

Since November 2006, Crown Law has further taken up the role of increasing legal literacy within the community.

Despite dealing with on-going issues of lack of resources and high turn-over of legal staff, Crown Law has been able to continue the provision of legal services to His Majesty's Government and the people of the Kingdom, with professionalism and integrity.

FUNCTIONS & DUTIES:

The Attorney General is the First Law Officer for the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga. The Attorney General 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, Government Ministries, and Departments
  • Drafting legislation for Government to be submitted to the Legislative Assembly
  • 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 and
  • Performing responsibilities in an independent and transparent manner

The Solicitor General 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.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE:

Hon. Vuna Fa'otusia - Minister for Justice

Mr.'Asipeli ‘Aminiasi Kefu - Acting Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions

Mr. Sione Finau Sisifa - Solicitor General

 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Solicitor General / Acting Attorney General

Crown Law Department
PO Box 85, Taumoepeau Building, Fatafehi Rd,
Nuku'alofa
Kingdom of Tonga

Telephone: +676 24 055 / +676 24 007
Fax: +676 24 005
Mobile Phone: (676) 771 5314



Speech of Hon. Attorney General and Minister of Justice in opening Law Week 2008

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OPENING SPEECH OF HON. ATTORNEY GENERAL AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE - LAW WEEK 2008, MONDAY 17

NOVEMBER 2008

"THE THEME FOR LAW WEEK 2008 IS "THE RULE OF LAW", WE BELIEVE THE ESSENCE OF ALL ENDEAVOURS IN THE LEGAL SECTOR.

TO MAINTAIN THE RULE OF LAW MEANS TO OBEY, RESPECT AND ENSURE IT IS PRESERVED IN ALL LEVELS OF THE SOCIETY.

THE RULE OF LAW IS A UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE THAT COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD HAVE ADOPTED AND CONTINUE TO ADHERE TO BECAUSE IT IS FUNDAMENTAL TO ANY LAW ABIDING COHESIVE SOCIETY.

I ATTENDED THE COMMONWEALTH LAW MINISTERS MEETINGS IN JULY 2008 IN EDINBURG, SCOTLAND, WHICH WAS ATTENDED BY ATTORNEY GENERALS AND MINISTERS OF JUSTICE FROM THROUGHOUT THE COMMONWEALTH.

THE THEME OF THAT MEETING WAS "THE RULE OF LAW" AND MEMBERS AGREED THAT A GOOD GOVERNMENT IS ONE WHERE THE RULE OF LAW IS APPLIES EQUALLY TO THE THREE ARMS OF GOVERNMENT, THE EXECUTIVE, THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY AND THE JUDICIARY. THE GOAL IS A GOVERNMENT THAT IS ACCOUNTABLE AND ETHICAL.

THE MEMBER COUNTRIES AGREED THAT APPLICATION OF THE RULE OF LAW IS NOT RESTRICTED TO THE ARMS OF GOVERNMENT, BUT IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THIS PRINCIPLE APPLIES TO ITS PEOPLE.

THE PROGRAMS ORGANISED FOR LAW WEEK 2008 ARE DESIGNED TO HELP PROMOTE THE RULE OF LAW AND MAKE THE LAW A FRIEND OF ALL TONGANS. IT IS AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE LAW ACCESSIBLE TO ALL OUR PEOPLE.

LAW WEEK IS ANOTHER SMALL STEP BUT A SIGNIFICANT ONE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE LEGAL SECTOR IN THIS COUNTRY.

CONCLUSION:

LORD BINGHAM OF CORNHILL KG OF THE ENGLISH HOUSE OF LORDS SAID THIS OF THE RULE OF LAW, THAT

  1. EVERY CITIZEN OF A COUNTRY AND EVERY OFFICIAL, WHETHER HE IS IN GOVERNMENT OR THE PRIVATE SECTOR SHOULD OBEY THE RULE OF LAW.
  2. EVERY PERSON SHOULD HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW.
  3. EVERY LAW MADE SHOULD BE MADE KNOWN TO EVERYONE.

THE MAINTENANCE OF THE "RULE OF LAW" IN A SOCIETY IS SUPPORTED BY:

1. AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY.

2. EQUAL ACCESS BY ALL TO THE RULE OF LAW

3. AVAILABILITY OF LAW ENFORCEMENT BODIES AND MEANS TO COMBAT UNLAWFUL ACTION.

I HAVE THE GREAT PLEASURE IN DECLARING THE LAW WEEK 2008 OPEN."

END

 
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