Monarchy of the Solomon Islands

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Queen of the Solomon Islands
Incumbent
Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit.jpg
Elizabeth II
Details
Style Her Majesty
Heir apparent Charles, Prince of Wales
First monarch Elizabeth II
Formation 7 July 1978
Coat of arms of the Solomon Islands.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Solomon Islands

The monarchy of the Solomon Islands is a system of government in which a constitutional monarch is the head of state of Solomon Islands. The present monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who is also the head of state of fifteen other Commonwealth realms.

The Queen's constitutional roles in Solomon Islands are delegated to the Governor-General of Solomon Islands.

Constitutional role[edit]

The Commonwealth of Nations has over 50 member states, of which, sixteen are specifically Commonwealth realms that recognise, individually, Elizabeth II as their monarch and therefore head of state; Solomon Islands is one of these. Each realm, including Solomon Islands, is a sovereign and independent state. Elizabeth II exercises her sovereignty only as Queen of Solomon Islands and on all matters relating to Solomon Islands, the monarch is advised solely by Solomon Islands ministers.[1]

The monarch of the Solomon Islands is represented by the Governor-General of Solomon Islands, who is a citizen of Solomon Islands elected for a five-year term by the national parliament.[2] Formally, the monarch appoints the Governor-General on the advice of parliament. The current Governor-General is former Attorney-General and High Court Judge Frank Kabui, who was first elected in 2009.[3] Governors-General must meet the same eligibility requirements as members of parliament and can serve no more than two terms.[4]

This arrangement came into being subsequent to the Balfour Declaration of 1926, which provided the dominions the right to be considered equal to Britain, rather than subordinate; an agreement that had the result of, in theory, a shared Crown that operates independently in each realm rather than a unitary British Crown under which all the dominions were secondary. The monarchy thus ceased to be an exclusively British institution, although it has often been called "British" since (in both legal and common language) for reasons historical, legal, and of convenience. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act, 1927 was the first indication of this shift in law, further elaborated in the Statute of Westminster, 1931.

Solomon Islands gained self-government in 1976 following the independence of neighbouring Papua New Guinea from Australia in 1975. Independence was granted in 1978, establishing Solomon Islands as a sovereign democratic state, with the Queen as head of state. The new constitution, providing for fully responsible status within the Commonwealth, took effect under The Solomon Islands Independence Order 1978, an order in council which had been requested by the Legislative Assembly. It was made under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act 1890, and came into operation on 7 July 1978.[5] Under the constitution the oath of allegiance is a declaration of allegiance to "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Her Heirs and Successors".[6]

Duties[edit]

The monarch's duties are performed by the Governor-General. The Governor-General represents the monarch on ceremonial occasions such as the opening of parliament, the presentation of honours and military parades. Under the constitution, he or she is given authority to act in some matters, for example in appointing and disciplining officers of the civil service, and in proroguing parliament.

As in the other Commonwealth realms, the monarch's role is almost entirely symbolic and cultural. The powers that are constitutionally hers are exercised almost wholly upon the advice of the cabinet, made up of Ministers of the Crown. In exceptional circumstances the monarch or their representative can act against such advice based upon his or her reserve powers.[citation needed]

The royal family occasionally visits the islands. The Queen has visited twice: in February 1974 (before independence) and in October 1982 (after the 1982 Commonwealth Games). Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied the Queen on both occasions, and also visited without the Queen, in 1959 and 1971. Princess Anne and Mark Phillips visited in 1974 and the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge visited in 2012.[1]

Succession[edit]

Succession to the throne in Solomon Islands is identical to the succession to the British throne. The heir apparent is Elizabeth II's eldest son, Charles.

No Commonwealth realm can alter the succession without the agreement of the other realms. Under the Statute of Westminster, Solomon Islands has a common monarchy with Britain and the other Commonwealth realms, and Solomon Islands cannot change the rules of succession without the unanimous consent of the other realms, unless explicitly leaving the shared monarchy relationship by means of a constitutional amendment. This situation applies symmetrically in all the other realms, including the UK.

Title[edit]

In Solomon Islands, the Queen's official title is: Queen of Solomon Islands and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.[7]

Legal role[edit]

All laws in Solomon Islands are enacted with the sovereign's, or the vice-regal's signature. The granting of a signature to a bill is known as Royal Assent; it and proclamation are required for all acts of Parliament, usually granted or withheld by the Governor General. The Vice-Regals may reserve a bill for the Monarch's pleasure, that is to say, allow the Monarch to make a personal decision on the bill. The Monarch has the power to disallow a bill (within a time limit specified by the constitution).

The Sovereign is deemed the "fount of justice," and is responsible for rendering justice for all subjects. The Sovereign does not personally rule in judicial cases; instead, judicial functions are performed in his or her name. The common law holds that the Sovereign "can do no wrong"; the monarch cannot be prosecuted in his or her own courts for criminal offences.

Civil lawsuits against the Crown in its public capacity (that is, lawsuits against the government) are permitted; however, lawsuits against the Monarch personally are not cognisable. The Sovereign, and by extension the Governor General, also exercises the "prerogative of mercy," and may pardon offences against the Crown. Pardons may be awarded before, during, or after a trial.

In Solomon Islands the legal personality of the State is referred to as "Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Solomon Islands." For example, if a lawsuit is filed against the government, the respondent is formally described as Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Solomon Islands. The monarch as an individual takes no more role in such an affair than in any other business of government.

References[edit]