Consolidation of Legislation Project
Current status of legislative and case law
collection in Nauru
Nauru's laws comprise:
- a number of Ordinances from the pre-independence administration
which are still in force;
- certain laws of the United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea and
Australia which have been adopted by Nauru and are still in
- Acts of Parliament passed since independence in 1968;
- precedents of the Supreme Court of Nauru; and
- customary law.
Of these, all are expressed in written form except customary law.
However, there is at present no complete collection of Nauruan laws
currently in force. There is also no complete list or index of
legislation, and complete list or index of all Supreme Court
decisions. Many ordinances and Acts of Parliament have been amended
over the years, but no consolidation of legislation has been
undertaken to consolidate all amendments into new authorised
reprints of current legislation. To remedy these problems, Nauru is
about to embark on a project for the consolidation of legislation
and the development of a coordinated system for the management of
legal information. The Project has been designed by the Office of
Parliamentary Counsel and the Justice Department, and is being
generously funded by New Zealand AID.
Importance of access to legal information
In order for the public administration and in particular the
justice sector to function effectively it is essential that all of
the laws in force in Nauru are known and accessible. All public
officers need to be aware of the legal framework within which they
operate and of the laws with which they are required to comply.
Government departments need to have access to, and be thoroughly
familiar with, all of the laws that they are responsible for
administering. It is also a key aspect of the rule of law and
democratic governance that laws be accessible to the public. Access
to accurate and complete legislation, case law, regulations and
gazettes is therefore vital for good governance, transparency and
accountability of the machinery of government and for effective
public scrutiny of the government and administration.
The project will involve the consolidation and reprint of all
Nauruan legislation. A mechanism will be put in place to ensure
that the Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Justice Department
each have a properly organised, complete and up to date collection
of all legislation and subordinate legislation and that all case
law is accessible. A complete hard copy collection of all laws and
regulations will be consolidated and housed in the Supreme Court
Library. A complete electronic database of all laws of Nauru will
be available online (PacLII) and offline in the Justice Department
and Parliament. The project is expected to commence in early 2010
and to be completed by the end of 2010.
The project will be jointly coordinated by two NZAID
consultants: a Document Management Specialist and a Legal Drafting
Specialist, under the guidance of the Project Coordinating
Committee, which will comprise key local stakeholders and be
chaired by the Parliamentary Counsel. NZAID will select the
consultants through a request for tenders.
The goal of the project is to:
- Strengthen human rights and good governance in Nauru, in
particular transparency of government;
- Strengthen the capacity of Nauru's legal and judicial
- Improve access to Nauruan legal information for the government,
administration, legal practitioners, students and the community in
a manner that is sustainable over the long term.
The goal of Phase One (Scoping Study) is to ensure the project
is properly designed and feasible, and mapping out project
timeframes and budgets.
The objectives of Phase One (Scoping Study) are to:
- Facilitate commencement of the project by assessing the project
design and feasibility, and making informed projections in relation
to project timeframes and budgets
- Identify project risks and optimal solutions for mitigating or
The objectives of Phase Two (Project)are to:
Complete an audit of existing collections of laws housed in
Parliament, Supreme Court and Justice Department and audit of all
laws currently in force in Nauru.
Effect the consolidation and reprint of all amended laws
(including passage of enabling legislation), and production and
filing of authorised copies of all legislation and subordinate
legislation in force in Nauru.
Develop an electronic database of legislation, subordinate
legislation, gazettes and case law and facilitate its ongoing
Develop and implement a coordinated system for the ongoing
management of legal information (including defined responsibilities
for maintaining comprehensive hard copy and electronic
Develop (and facilitate the ongoing maintenance of) a cooperative
relationship with PacLII.