Attorney-General (Fiji)

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Fiji's chief governmental legal officer is the Attorney General. According to the Constitution of Fiji, the Attorney-General is required to be a qualified lawyer and sits in the Cabinet. The office of the Attorney-General is the oldest surviving executive office in Fiji, having been established in the Kingdom of Viti in 1872. It continued throughout Fiji's years as a British crown colony (1874–1970) and subsequently as a Commonwealth realm (1970–1987) and republic (1987–present), with minimal modifications.

The Attorney-General is the only Cabinet office, apart from that of the Prime Minister, specifically established by the Constitution. The Attorney-General must be a member of either the House of Representatives or the Senate. A unique feature of the office is that except for voting rights (which may be exercised only in the chamber of which the Attorney-General is officially a member), the Attorney-General has the authority to participate in the business of both chambers of Parliament. The office is normally held by the Minister for Justice, although they are distinct offices. Like other members of the Cabinet, the Attorney-General is appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The Attorney-General's office[edit]

The office of the Attorney-General is responsible for all legal needs of government departments, statutory bodies, and state-owned enterprises. The office has three offices in Suva, Lautoka, and Labasa respectively. Government legal work in the country's Central and Eastern Divisions is undertaken by the central office in Suva, headed by the Solicitor-General, while the Lautoka office (headed by the Principal Legal Officer) is responsible for the Western Division. The Northern Division is covered by the Labasa office.

Additional functions in January 2008[edit]

The current Attorney General is Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. In January 2008, he sparked controversy by accepting other government positions in addition to his role as Attorney General; Sayed-Khaiyum is currently responsible also for "Public Enterprise, Electoral Reform and Anti-Corruption". An article in the Fiji Times pointed out that "never before in the history of this nation has the Attorney-General held a portfolio dealing with matters other than the law and the judiciary", and criticised the decision.[1]

List of Attorneys-General of Fiji[edit]

Note that some Attorneys-General have held office in multiple consecutive administrations, particularly in the colonial era.

Kingdom of Viti (1871–1874)[edit]

Order Attorney-General Term of Office Appointed by:
1. R.W. Hamilton 1872 King Seru Epenisa Cakobau
2. C.R. Forwood 1872–1873
3. Sydney Charles Burt 1873–1874

Crown colony (1874–1970)[edit]

Order Attorney-General Term of Office Appointed by (Governor):
4. J.H. De Ricci 1875–1876 Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon
5. Joseph Hector Garrick 1876–1882 Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon
6. Fielding Clarke 1882–1886 Sir William Des Vœux
7. Henry Spencer Berkeley 1886–1889
8. John Symonds Udal 1889–1901 Sir John Bates Thurston
9. Henry Edward Pollock 1901–1903 William Lamond Allardyce
10. Albert Ehrhardt 1903–1914 Sir Henry Moore Jackson
11. Alfred Karney Young 1914–1922 Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott
12. James Muir MacKenzie 1922–1927 Sir Cecil Hunter Rodwell
13. Percy Alexander McElwaine 1927–1931 Sir Eyre Hutson
14. Charles Gough Howell 1931–1933 Sir Arthur George Murchison Fletcher
15. Ransley Samuel Thacker 1933–1938
16. Edward Enoch Jenkins 1938–1945 Sir Arthur Frederick Richards
17. John Henry Vaughan 1945–1949 Sir Alexander Grantham
18. Brian Andre Doyle 1949–1956 Sir Leslie Brian Freeston
19. Ashley Martin Greenwood 1956–1963 Sir Ronald Herbert Garvey
20. Henry Roger Justin Lewis 1963–1970 Sir Kenneth Phipson Maddocks

Commonwealth realm (1970–1987)[edit]

Order Attorney-General Term of Office
Served under [1]:
Governor-General Prime Minister
21. John Neil Falvey 1970–1977 Ratu Sir George Cakobau Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara
22. Sir Vijay R. Singh 1977–1979
23. Andrew Indar Narayan Deoki 1979–1981
24. Manikam V. Pillai 1981–1984
Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau
25. Qoriniasi Babitu Bale 1984–1987
26. Jai Ram Reddy 1987 Timoci Bavadra
[1] The Attorney-General in this period was formally appointed by the Governor-General, but on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Republic (1987 – present)[edit]

Order Attorney-General Term of Office
Served under [1]:
President Prime Minister
27. Sailosi Kepa 1987–1992 Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara
28. Apaitia Seru 1992
29. Kelemedi Bulewa 1992–1996 Sitiveni Rabuka
Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara
31. Anand K. Singh 1999–2000 Mahendra Chaudhry
32. Alipate Qetaki 2000–2001 Ratu Josefa Iloilo Laisenia Qarase
33. Qoriniasi Babitu Bale 2001–2006
34. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum 2007–present Commodore Frank Bainimarama
[1] The Attorney-General in this period is formally appointed by the President, but on the advice of the Prime Minister.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Role of the Attorney-General", Fiji Times, 6 January 2008

External links[edit]