Australian Volunteer at the Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission Reply

Staff of the Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission (Back from left to right: Solomon Lincoln, Clifton Ruele, Philip Kaniarara, Daniel Suluia, Frank Paulson, James Cooper. Front: Cathy Sakumalefo and Matilda Dani)

Staff of the Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission. Back from left to right: Solomon Lincoln, Clifton Ruele, Philip Kaniarara, Daniel Suluia, Frank Paulson, James Cooper. Front: Cathy Sakumalefo and Matilda Dani

James Cooper, an Australian Volunteer for International Development (AVID) left the country yesterday after living and working for a year in Solomon Islands. James worked as a legal officer with the Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission (SILRC). The SILRC is an independent statutory body, funded by the government. Its vision is law reform for peace, good governance and sustainable development. Their vision; to engage the Solomon Islanders in the renewal of the law to ensure that it is relevant, responsive, effective, equally accessible to all, and just. The SILRC is currently conducting consultations on homicide offences, property offences, and sorcery offences and encourages all Solomon Islands to provide feedback. These consultation papers can be obtained by contacting the SILRC on telephone 38773, email or from the SILRC website:

During his assignment James helped to develop the capacity of the SILRC and assisted its staff to progress the homicide, non-fatal, property, and sorcery offences.

James says he has had amazing experience living and volunteering in Solomon Islands: “I have had a wonderful adventure, living and volunteering in the Solomon Islands for the past year. The work conducted by the SILRC is crucial to the future of the Solomon Islands. To be able to assist the lawyers at the SILRC has been greatly satisfying both professionally and personally. I have been exceptionally lucky to have travelled to six of the nine provinces of the Solomon Islands, which has let me see so much of what Solomon Islands has to offer.

I remember visiting my counterpart’s home village of Neo in Santa Cruz, Temotu, whilst conducting property offence consultations. The warmth, welcome and care that we received during our stay was remarkable. It made me feel as if I was part of their family and community. This trip exemplified my experience in Solomon Islands.”

The Chairman of the Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission said James was a highly competent and conscientious lawyer: “James Cooper greatly assisted the Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission in its law reform projects and processes, in particular the completion of the Homicide Consultation Paper, development of the SILRC Manual and file management system for law reform projects, and assistance to the personal harm offences, property offences and sorcery offence consultations. He also helped with the SILRC Corporate Plan 2015 – 2016, 2015 Annual Work Plan and capacity building to staff of the SILRC.

On behalf of all of us here at the SILRC I would like to sincerely thank James for all the assistance he has given to the SILRC over the last 12 months. In spite of the short time he has spent with us, he has assisted us in a significant way to progress a number of our core activities. In particular, he has played a major role in assisting us to progress our work on the review of the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. He has provided high quality technical advice and assisted the legal officers in the consultations process and writing of reference papers. He has also assisted the Commission in other important work through providing high quality advice on legal, policy and administration matters. For a young professional, James has shown maturity, total commitment to his work and has provided us with high quality results.

He has been an excellent role model for our young officers. He has a pleasant personality and is easy to work with. He has worked well with his counterparts and we will really miss him when he leaves; both in terms of his professional assistance and as a friend. We wish him well in his future endeavours.

Finally, on behalf of the Commission, the Ministry and the people of Solomon Islands I would like to thank the people and organisations that made it possible for James to come and work with us at SILRC. I thank in particular the Australian Government, the people of Australia, and Scope Global for this assistance.”

The AVID program aims to strengthen mutual understanding between Australia and developing countries and make a positive contribution to development. It is an Australian Government initiative and the program offers a range of opportunities for the Australian community to share skills and foster linkages with people and organisations in developing countries to make a difference as part of Australia’s overseas aid program. The focus is skills transfer, capacity building, sustainable development, institutional strengthening and cultural understanding.

The AVID program in Solomon Islands is managed by Pasifiki Services Limited along with Scope Global. Any organization that would like to host a volunteer can visit Pasifiki office, Hyundai mall, suite 205 & 206 or contact phone: 20453 or email:


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