Pacific Islands Law Officers’ Network (PILON) Meeting 2008
Sunday, 03 May 2009

Mr James Tari, an Executive Committee member of PIMLA, represented the Association at the 27th PILON Meeting held in Vanuatu from 5 - 9 December 2008 and delivered a presentation on PIMLA’s activities and how they could work in collaboration with PILON.

As highlighted below, there are several PILON activities which can utilise PIMLA’s expertise to add greater value, especially in the maritime context and sharing similar experiences. PIMLA has outlined to the PILON Secretariat its proposed activities for 2009 as a means of sharing information and giving respective memberships a picture of host of legal activities that may be of good value for lawyers in the region to take advantage of.

1. Extradition and mutual legal assistance

The Meeting agreed to encourage Pacific island countries’ (PICs) governments to consider ways in which the extradition process involving their countries could be streamlined and expedited to:

  • further harmonise evidential requirements to extradite a person, noting that most members prefer a backing of warrants procedure or the no evidence standard;
  • harmonising grounds of objection to extradition applications; and
  • exploring options to reduce or share the burden of extradition costs.

It was also noted the need to utilise expertise currently available in the region, for instance, technical assistance to amend extradition legislation is available through the Australian Attorney General’s Department, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

2. Resources available to meet Pacific legal research needs

Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute (PacLII) made a presentation on the services it provides to law officers in the Pacific, which includes providing relevent information to support research cases and legislation and providing access to commercial legal databases through the Pacific Legal Gateway. This is a useful tool that PIMLA relies on, especially in projects such as compilation and analysis of maritime judgments in the Pacific islands region.

3. Pacific legal training, capacity building, exchange and attachment opportunities

The Meeting discussed opportunities for legal training, capacity building, exchange and attachment activities and needs in the region. The Meeting also noted that a range of such activities were available in the region as well as internationally. The Meeting agreed to provide the Secretariat with relevant information on their preferences for training, exchange and attachment activities that would assist in formulating proposals in the particular area.


PILON Litigation Skills Programme

The Meeting discussed the PILON Litigation Skills Programme (LSP) 2008 and the Past Participants’ Survey, as well as opportunities for devolution and Pacific coordination. This Programme is being funded by New Zealand. LSP could be approached in the future to consider maritime related cases or other specialist areas as a basis for prosecution cases.

The Meeting expressed strong support for the LSP as an important and effective component of continuing legal education for government law officers in the Pacific.

4. Developing a regional legal policy agenda for PILON

The Meeting discussed the relevance of legal issues relating to climate change in the Pacific and expressed an interest in the issue being a long term priority and a potential topic for discussion at future meetings. The PILON Secretariat will assess country reports presented at the meeting to identify further medium to long term issues for discussion at the 28th meeting.

5. Other business

  • The Meeting noted a request from the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP) Secretariat, to the secretariats of PILON, PIF and PIMLA, to consider the legislative implications of the Pacific Patrol Boat Project for PICs.
  • The Meeting recognised that the negotiation of maritime boundaries is important to PICs and tasked the Secretariat to contact the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) to ascertain assistance available for capacity building in relation to the legal aspects of such negotiations.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 May 2009 )
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