Fiji Consolidated Legislation
LAWS OF FIJI
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1. Short title.
3. Great Council of Chiefs.
4. Fijian Affairs Board.
5. Regulations by Minister.
6. Regulations by Board.
7. Provincial Councils.
8. Provincial Council to be corporate body.
9. Other councils.
10. Standing orders.
11. Procedure with respect to Bills affecting Fijian affairs.
12. Appointment and powers of rokos.
13. Appointment and powers of Fijian magistrates.
14. Suspension and discharge of rokos and magistrates.
15. Appointment of officers.
16. Tikina courts.
17. Jurisdiction and powers of Fijian magistrates.
18. Appeal from tikina court.
19. Provincial courts.
20. Appeals from provincial court.
21. Powers of revision of findings of Fijian courts.
22. Promulgation of by-laws and orders.
23. Personation of chief.
24. Conflict between regulations, etc., made under this Act and other legislation.
25. Rotuma excepted.
Ordinances Nos. 3 of 1944, 19 of 1944, 2 of 1945,
4 of 1945, 28 of 1948, 16 of 1951, 10 of 1966, 29 of 1967.
Order 7th Oct. 1970
[1st January, 1945]
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE REGULATION OF FIJIAN AFFAIRS
1. This Act may be cited as the Fijian Affairs Act.
2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-
"Board" means the Fijian Affairs Board constituted under the provisions of this Act;
"chief" means any person enrolled in the principal mataqali of a yavusa in the register of native land owners recorded under the provisions of section 8 of the Native Lands Act;
"Council" means the Great Council of Chiefs constituted under the provisions of this Act;
"Fijian" includes every member of an aboriginal race indigenous to Fiji and also includes every member of an aboriginal race indigenous to Melanesia, Micronesia or Polynesia living in Fiji who has elected to live in a Fijian village;
"Fijian court" means a court constituted under the provisions of this Act;
"province" means a province established under the provisions of this Act or by law or custom in existence at the commencement of this Act;
"tikina" means a tikina established under the provisions of this Act or by law or custom in existence at the commencement of this Act.
(Section substituted by 10 of 1966, s. 2.)
Great Council of Chiefs
3.-(1) There shall be in respect of the Fijian people a council called the Great Council of Chiefs which shall consist of such number of appointed, elected and nominated persons as the Governor-General may by regulation prescribe.
(2) It shall be the duty of the Council, in addition to any powers or duties especially conferred upon it, to submit to the Governor-General such recommendations and proposals as it may deem to be for the benefit of the Fijian people, and to consider such questions relating to the good government and well being of the Fijian people as the Governor-General or the Board may from time to time submit to the Council, and to take decisions or make recommendations thereon. (Section substituted by 10 of 1966, s. 4.)
Fijian Affairs Board
4.-(1) There shall be of and for the Council a Board called the Fijian Affairs Board which shall consist of such appointed and elected persons as the Minister may by regulation prescribe.
(2) The Board shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and common seal and shall, under the name of the Fijian Affairs Board, be capable of suing and being sued and, subject to the provisions of this Act, shall be capable of purchasing, holding and alienating property, real and personal, and of doing and suffering all such other acts and things as bodies corporate may by law do and suffer.
(3) Subject to the approval of the Minister of Finance, it shall be lawful for the Board to raise loans, including temporary loans by way of overdraft from a bank or otherwise, for the purposes of this Act, on such terms and conditions as it may consider appropriate and it may offer all or any of its property as security for such loans.
(4) It shall be the duty of the Board, in addition to any powers or duties especially conferred upon it, to submit to the Minister such recommendations and proposals as it may deem to be for the benefit of the Fijian people, to consider such questions relating to the good government and well being of the Fijian people as the Minister may from time to time submit to the Board and to refer such questions to the Council or to take decisions or submit recommendations thereon.
(Section substituted by 10 of 1966, s. 4 and amended by 29 of 1967, s. 2.)
Regulations by Minister
5. Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sections 4 and 5, the Minister may make regulations providing for-
(a) the constitution of the Council and of the Board;
(b) the powers, duties and functions of the Council and of the Board;
(c) the holding of meetings of the Council and of the Board.
(Section substituted by 10 of 1966, s. 4.)
Regulations by Board
6.-(1) The Board may, subject to the approval of the Minister, make regulations to be obeyed by all Fijians, providing for the peace, order, welfare and good government of Fijians, and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, providing for-
(a) the constitution of Provincial Councils and of such other councils as the Minister or the Board may from time to time establish;
(b) the conduct of elections to Provincial Councils:
Provided that the provisions of the law for the time being in force relating to offences in connection with the conduct of elections to Parliament shall apply mutatis mutandis to elections to Provincial Councils;
(c) the imposition, assessment and collection of rates and the charging of fees by Provincial Councils; (Amended by 29 of 1967, s. 3.)
(d) the making of by-laws by Provincial Councils, and of orders by other councils;
(e) the powers, duties and functions of Provincial Councils and other councils;
(f) the establishment, constitution, powers, duties and functions of committees by Provincial Councils and other councils;
(g) the holding of meetings of Provincial Councils and other councils, and committees thereof;
(h) the jurisdiction, powers and procedure of Fijian courts and magistrates in civil and criminal matters and the fees which may be charged in connexion with proceedings before Fijian courts;
(i) for the recruitment, training and appointment of officers to carry out functions under the provisions of this Act;
(j) any other matter required to be prescribed.
(2) Subject to the provisions of the proviso to paragraph (b) of subsection (1), regulations made under the provisions of that subsection may impose penalties for the breach thereof not exceeding a fine of $100 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both such fine and imprisonment, and may make provision for extramural punishment.
(Section substituted by 10 of 1966, s. 4.)
7.-(1) There shall be in and for each province a council called the Provincial Council which shall consist of such number of persons as may be prescribed by regulations.
(2) A Provincial Council may, subject to the approval of the Board, make such by-laws for the health, welfare and good government of, and, subject to the approval of the Minister, impose such rates or charge such fees to be paid by Fijians residing in or being members of the community of the province as may be authorised by regulation.
(3) Any by-law made under the provisions of subsection (2) may impose penalties for the breach thereof not exceeding a fine of forty dollars and, in the case of a continuing offence, a, further fine not exceeding four dollars for each day during which the offence continues afer [sic] a conviction in respect thereof. Any such by-law may also provide that, in addition to any such fine, any expense incurred by a Provincial Council in consequence of any such breach or in the execution of any work directed by any such by-law to be executed by any person and not executed by him shall be paid by the person committing such breach or failing to execute such work.
(Section substituted by 10 of 1966, s. 4.)
Provincial Council to be corporate body
8.-(1) A Provincial Council shall be known by the name of the province followed by the words "Provincial Council" and shall under that name be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, and shall for the purposes and subject to the provisions of this Act be capable of purchasing, holding, disposing of and alienating real and personal property and of doing and suffering all such other acts and things as bodies corporate may by law do and suffer.
(2) It shall be lawful for a Provincial Council from time to time to raise loans, including temporary loans on overdraft from a bank or otherwise, for such purposes, in such amounts, and on such terms and conditions as shall be approved by the Fijian Affairs Board. Such loans shall be secured on the property and revenues of the council.
(3) A Provincial Council may acquire, whether by way of purchase or lease, any land, whether situated within or without the boundaries of the province, and may develop any land so acquired, and may sell or let any land which they may possess:
Provided that no such dealing in land shall take place without the prior approval of the Minister. (Section substituted by 10 of 1966, s. 4.)
*9.-(1) The Board may establish for any area in any province such other council, with authority over such area as the Board may define, which council shall consist of such persons and shall be called by such name as may be prescribed.
* In force 15 March 1985.
See Legal Notice No. 18 of 1985.
(2) A council created under the provisions of subsection (1) may, subject to the approval of the Provincial Council of the province within which the area of authority of such other council may be situated and, with the subsequent approval of the Minister, make orders for the good government of Fijians residing in or being members of the community of such area as may be authorised by regulations.
(3) A Fijian shall be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months, or both such fine and imprisonment, if he contravenes or fails to obey any order which by this Act he is bound to obey.
10. The Board-
(a) shall make standing orders to the satisfaction of the Minister for regulating the receipt, custody and disbursement of revenue, for accounting and audit, and for the inspection of accounts; and
(b) may make standing orders regulating the engagement, salaries, conditions of service, dismissal, superannuation and all other matters relating to the employment of persons in its service.
Procedure with respect to Bills affecting Fijian affairs
11.-(1) When any bill is to be introduced into Parliament which appears to the Minister to affect in any important matter the rights and interests of Fijians, and especially any Bill imposing taxes to be paid by them or relating to their chiefs, local authorities or land, it shall first be referred to the Board for consideration, unless the Minister certifies that is so urgent or of so secret a nature that the public interest does not so permit.
(2) On reference of a Bill the Board may inform the Minister that it advises that the Bill be referred to the Council of Chiefs and the Minister shall then so refer it unless the urgency of the matter is such that in his opinion the Bill cannot be delayed.
(3) If a Bill is not referred to the Council of Chiefs it shall be considered by the Board which shall prepare a memorandum containing its comments on the Bill and return the Bill with the memorandum to the Clerk to the House of Representatives.
(4) If a Bill is referred to the Council of Chiefs, the Council shall without undue delay proceed to consider it and prepare a memorandum containing its comments on the Bill and shall return the Bill and memorandum to the Clerk to the House of Representatives.
(5) If, in the opinion of the Minister, the public interest so require or there has been undue delay, the Minister may order that a Bill which has been referred to the Council of Chiefs be withdrawn and referred to the Board or introduced without further reference into Parliament.
(6) When any Bill has been returned to the Clerk to the House of Representatives with a memorandum by the Council of Chiefs or the Board it shall be presented to Parliament with the memorandum and it shall be in order for the members of Parliament in debate to refer to or discuss the memorandum as if it were part of the Bill.
Appointment and powers of rokos
12. The Minister may, with the advice of the Board, appoint rokos of provinces, and such rokos when so appointed shall have such powers and duties as may from time to time be conferred or imposed on them by regulation:
Provided that where in any province no appointment of a roko has been made or the roko is unable to exercise the powers or perform the duties of his office by reason of illness, absence on leave or other cause, then, in default of the appointment of any other person to act in the office of roko, the Commissioner of the Division within which the province is situated may exercise the powers and shall perform the duties conferred or imposed on the roko by or under this Act. (Amended by 4 of 1945, s. 5.)
Appointment and powers of Fijian magistrates
13. The Minister may appoint fit and proper persons to be Fijian magistrates and such magistrates shall have such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred upon them by or under this Act.
Suspension and discharge of rokos and magistrates
14.-(1) If the Minister is satisfied that any roko or Fijian magistrate is by reason of illness, delinquency or neglect incapable of discharging or unwilling to discharge the duties of his office he may make an order suspending him from office and appointing a fit and proper person to take his place for such time as may be prescribed in the order, and such person shall thereupon have all the powers and duties of such roko or magistrate.
(2) If the Minister is of opinion that there are grounds for considering the removal of a roko or Fijian magistrate from office, or the imposition of a penalty by way of fine, reduction of salary or reprimand, he may refer the matter to the Board for inquiry, at which the roko or magistrate shall be entitled to be heard, and may thereafter make such order as he considers just.
(3) If the Minister is of opinion that by reason of ill health, infirmity or physical disability a roko or Fijian magistrate is unable to discharge the duties of his office, he may refer the case to a medical board and may thereafter make such order as he considers just.
Appointment of officers
15.-(1) The Board may appoint such officers, accountants and servants as may be required for the efficient discharge of its duties and responsibilities and for the proper conduct and administration of Fijian affairs. (Amended by 29 of 1967, s. 4.)
(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, persons so appointed shall have such powers as may be conferred by regulation, and shall perform such duties as may be imposed by regulations or as the Board may direct.
16. There shall be in each tikina a court, to be called a tikina court, which shall consist of a Fijian magistrate sitting alone and shall be held at such times and at such places as may be necessary. (Amended by 4 of 1945, s. 3.)
Jurisdiction and powers of Fijian magistrates
17.-(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, Fijian magistrates shall have and exercise such civil jurisdiction and powers and, with respect to offences against regulations, by-laws and orders made under this Act, such criminal jurisdiction and powers, as may be prescribed by regulations, and, in so far as such regulations do not provide, shall have and exercise, with respect to such offences, jurisdiction and powers similar to those conferred on second class magistrates by the Criminal Procedure Code.
(Amended by 2 of 1945, s. 138.)
(2) No person shall be committed to prison by a Fijian magistrate without a written warrant, or sentenced to any punishment without a written record of the conviction.
(3) A Fijian magistrate shall not have power to investigate an indictable offence, but, if an information or complaint discloses such an offence, he may issue warrants for the arrest of the offender or other preliminary process and shall, without delay, remit the case for investigation to a magistrate holding office under the Magistrates' Courts Act. (Amended by 2 of 1945, s. 138.)
Appeal from tikina court
18. An appeal shall lie from a tikina court to the provincial court of the province-
(a) when the amount adjudged to be paid exceeds the sum of two dollars; or
(b) when a person has been adjudged as a punishment for an offence in default of payment of a fine to be imprisoned for a term exceeding seven days; or
(c) when a person has been adjudged as a punishment for an offence to be imprisoned without the option of a fine:
Provided that no appeal shall lie in the case of an accused person who has pleaded guilty and been convicted on such plea except as to the extent and legality of the sentence. (Amended by 4 of 1945, s. 3.)
19.-(1) There shall be in each province a court, a [sic] to be called the provincial court. Such court shall be composed of three members of whom two shall be Fijian magistrates and the third shall be either a Fijian magistrate or a district officer.
(Amended by 2 of 1945, s. 138.)
(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act provincial courts shall have and exercise such civil and criminal jurisdiction as may be prescribed by regulations.
(3) Each provincial court shall sit at least once every three months at such times and such places as it may consider necessary. (Amended by 29 of 1967, s. 5.)
Appeals from provincial court
20. An appeal in both civil and criminal matters shall lie from a provincial court to the Supreme Court upon the terms and in the manner which may be from time to time prescribed by regulation and subject thereto upon the terms and in the manner prescribed by sections 308 to 322 inclusive and 329 to 340 inclusive of the Criminal Procedure Code. (Inserted by No. 19 of 1944, s. 391.)
Powers of revision of findings of Fijian courts.
21.-(1) The Legal Adviser to the Board may call for and examine the record of any proceedings before a Fijian court for the purpose of satisfying himself of the correctness, legality or propriety of any finding, sentence or order recorded or passed, and as to the regularity of any proceedings of a Fijian court.
(2) If the Legal Adviser to the Board acting under subsection (1) considers that any finding, sentence or order of any Fijian court is incorrect, illegal or improper or that any such proceedings are irregular, he may, in the case of any finding, sentence or order other than an order of acquittal, alter or reverse such finding, sentence or order:
Provided that no order under this subsection shall be made to the predudice [sic] of an accused person unless he has had an opportunity of being heard either personally or by a barrister and solicitor in his own defence.
(3) Subject to the provisions of subsection (2), no party shall have any right to be heard, either personally or by barrister and solicitor, by the Legal Adviser to the Board when exercising his powers of revision:
Provided that the Legal Adviser may in his discretion when exercising such powers hear any party either personally or by barrister and solicitor.
Promulgation of by-laws and orders
22. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Interpretation Act every by-law or order made and duly approved under this Act shall be made known to the person or persons by whom it is to be obeyed in such manner as is customary in the area of jurisdiction of the provincial or tikina council by whom the by-law or order is made, and thereupon shall be binding on the person or persons by whom it is to be obeyed.
(Amended by 4 of 1945, s. 3.)
Personation of chief
23.-(1) A Fijian shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars or to imprisonment not exceeding one year or to both imprisonment and fine if, not being a person exercising administrative functions with the approval of the Minister or the Board, he shall profess to exercise administrative functions, or, not being a chief, hold himself out to be a chief or assume the powers of a chief.
(2) A Fijian accused of an offence against this section may be tried summarily before any court, whether a Fijian court or not, within the area of whose jurisdiction the offence was committed:
Provided always that no court shall be deemed to be authorised by this section to impose heavier penalties than such court is authorised to impose in the exercise of its ordinary criminal jurisdiction:
Provided further than no proceedings shall be taken for an offence against this section without the consent of the Minister.
Conflict between regulations, etc., made under this Act and other legislation
24. If the subject matter of any regulation, by-law or order made under this Act is also the subject matter of any other law for the time being in force, not being a regulation, by-law or order made under this Act, such regulation, by-law or order shall not be invalid solely by reason thereof but shall be void to the extent to which it is incompatible with such other law.
25. This Act shall not apply to the island of Rotuma.
Controlled by Ministry of Fijian Affairs and Rural Development