Law Reform Commission reviews Islanders Marriage & Divorce Act

Law Reform Commission reviews Islanders Marriage & Divorce Act


By Eliza Kukutu

The Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission (SILRC) is working on the review of the Islanders Marriage and Divorce Act of the Penal Code.

Senior Legal Officer, Solomon Harunari confirmed this to SIBC News.

Consultations have been conducted for Malaita and Western Province with remaining provinces to be completed in the coming months.

The Islanders Marriage and Divorce Act deals with legal issues pertaining to marriage and divorce in the country.

Solomon Islands currently recognizes three forms of marriage which are custom, religious, and civil marriage.

Harunari said the review of the act is important as certain offences within the acts are no longer relevant to the current situation in the country.

“Take for example, we have an offence within the Islanders Marriage Act, which is Bigamy. This is when a person who is legally married and is yet to file for legal divorce but enters another form of marriage, he or she is committing the offence of Bigamy. ”

“Now this only applies to religious and civil marriages and not customary marriages. So, this is a reason why we see that there is a need to review and reform the act,” he said.

Under the current Islanders Marriage Act, the legal age of marriage is 15 years of age, with parental consent.

Harunari said reviewing the act will also ensure that certain offences under the act are consistent with other human rights acts in the country.

“Most of our laws requires persons to be 18 years of age before they are eligible to partake or be involved in certain processes. Like, a person must be 18 before they are eligible to vote.”

“In the Islanders Marriage Act, 15 years is the current minimum legal age of marriage, which is quite young. Even our family welfare act defines children as 17 years old and below. So, we are also doing consultations on whether we should retain that minimum age of marriage, or if it needs to be changed,” he explains.

SIBC News understands, the Law Reform Commission is also working on the review of other provisions under the Penal Code.

On Tuesday, the commission also concluded its consultations into the review of the Public Order Offence.


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