Thursday, 29 October 2009 11:23 AM

Law Reform Commission Launches Consultation

The Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission has launched its consultation paper for an enquiry into the law and custom that applies to land below high water and low water mark.

Minister for Justice and Legal Affairs, Laurie Chan is inviting people who have an interest in this area of land to make use of the reform process, and contribute their views about how the law might be changed.

Mr Chan says when the terms of reference was given to the Commission, there was uncertainty about the legal position regarding ownership of this area of land.

He says there was uncertainty about whether this area of land was customary or public land.

Mr Chan says the main legislation dealing with land in Solomon Islands - the land and titles act is not clear on this issue.

He says the land and titles act dates from 1968, and has not been changed since independence.

Mr Chan says past court decisions on the ownership of this area of land were contradictory.

Meanwhile, the Law Reform Commission says it looks forward to hearing the views of the people of Solomon Islands about how the law in this area might be changed.

Commissioner, Waeta Ben Tabusasi says the review is a great opportunity for Solomon Islanders to consider the law that applies to this area, and whether it is meeting the needs of the people.

Mr Tabusasi says whilst the 1968 land and titles act makes provision for land below the high water mark and low water mark - to promote economic development, it is not consistent with the needs and aspirations of traditional landowners and users.

He says the legislation encourages individual ownership of customary land which can disadvantage the rights of tribes and cause conflict in communities.

The land below high water mark and low water mark is the beaches, foreshores, reefs and seabed.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province