1986 Meeting of Commonwealth Law Ministers and Senior Officials

Harare, Zimbabwe, 26 July – 1 August 1986: Memoranda You do not have access to this content

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Commonwealth Secretariat
01 Jan 1987
9781848594258 (PDF)
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  • Preface

    Commonwealth Law Ministers from 36 jurisdictions met in Harare, Zimbabwe from 28 July - 1 August 1986. This volume contains most of the Memoranda prepared for, and during, that Meeting. Also included are the Meeting's Annotated Draft Agenda and Communique.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Pre-trial Remands in Custody

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    • LMM(86)9 The Increase in Pre-Trial Remands-A Challenge to Criminal Legal Systems

      Time and again studies have thrown doubt on the idea that the numbers in the prisons are necessarily related to the levels of crime in a society. Where there is little crime the propensity to imprison may be relatively high and there are countries with high rates of serious crime and relatively low rates of imprisonment. Thus, the Netherlands, with no less serious problems of crime than the rest of Europe, imprisons only about 30 to 40 persons per 100,000 of its total population whereas other European States are regularly imprisoning 80, 90 and sometimes over 100 per 100,000 of their people.

    • LMM(86)28 Pre-Trial Remands in Custody

      Hong Kong has not as yet followed the lead taken by many other Commonwealth countries by codifying the law of bail, and setting out in statutory form the principles upon which bail applications should be considered. This topic is, however, being considered by the Law Reform Commission, and it is hoped that a comprehensive Bail Ordinance will be introduced in the reasonably near future. Because the police have extensive powers of arrest which they use even for comparatively minor offences, the proportion of defendants for whom the question of bail must be considered is high.

    • LMM(86)34 Pre-Trial Remands in Custody

      With the phenomenal increase in crime especially white collar crime, there is a corresponding rise in the prison population. The prison population is made up of convicted offenders serving custodial sentences and also remandees awaiting trial. In Ghana the remandees amount to about 20% of the population and this has given cause for concern.

    • LMM(86)50 Aspects of Pre-Trial Criminal Process in Zambia

      This paper discusses the pre-trial criminal process in Zambia. It is divided into two parts. The first part deals briefly with the procedure of bringing Into motion the criminal process.

    • LMM(86)52 Pre-Trial Remands In Custody-Uganda's Experience

      The problem of persons held in custody in our prisons awaiting trial can be attributed to a variety of factors. These include the shortage of well-trained and experienced man-power in the Judiciary, the Department of Public Prosecutions as well as in the Criminal Investigations Department of the Police Force. The relatively slow process of criminal trials occasioned by technical procedural requirements for the reception of evidence, coupled with the need to respect and observe the rights of the parties, such as the right to bail and adjournment, are also instrumental in bringing about this problem.

    • LMM(86)58 Pre-Trial Remands in Custody

      What efforts have been made in Canada to restrict the number of persons deprived of their liberty while awaiting trial?

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts The International Tracing, Freezing and Forfeiture of Criminal Profits

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    • LMM(86)35 The International Tracing, Freezing and Forfeiture of Criminal Profits

      There is no doubt that big profits are often derived from illicit drug dealings and other frauds especially Commercial Crimes which transcend International boundaries. It is for this reason that there should be international cooperation in finding solutions for tracing and forfeiture of criminal profits.

    • LMM(86)40 Combating Organised Crime

      Confiscating and forfeiting property directly associated with serious crime is not a new concept. Very early and relatively unsophisticated systems of law provided for the seizure of property which was directly involved in the commission of a crime, and property which belonged to those placed outside the legal order. Indeed, 'outlaws' under many systems of law were deprived of their property not only to punish and deter, but also to deprive them of their status in society and ability to perpetrate anti-social acts in the future.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Recent Developments in Combating Drugs Trafficking

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    • LMM(86)21 Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking-A Commonwealth Initiative

      The attached paper consists of a brief discussion of the main issues in combating illicit trafficking in drugs. Dr Chatterjee then makes certain proposals for a Commonwealth initiative against the assets of such criminals. At their 1983 Meeting, Commonwealth Law Ministers stated in their communique.

    • LMM(86)2 Recent Developments In Combating Drug Trafficking: Areas Of Possible Commonwealth Co-Ordination

      In the final Communique (Appendix A) of their meeting in Nassau in October 1985, the Commonwealth Heads of Government expressed their deep concern at the rising level of drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking. The Communique called for enhanced cooperation between Commonwealth countries in this field and in particular invited Commonwealth Law Ministers to explore measures to reduce the extent to which the profits made by drug traffickers were used in criminal and subversive activities including those across international borders.

    • LMM(86)25 The Hong Kong Experience in Attempting to Reduce the Demand for and Supply of Illicit Drugs

      The abuse of opiate drugs was a major social problem in Hong Kong as long ago as 1842 when the population was only 12,360. Today the problem of drug abuse is still serious and Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas on earth with 5.4 million people living on a little over 1,000 square kilometres of land, much of it unusable hillsides and barren islets. The urban population density is 28,500 per square kilometre.

    • LMM(86)27 Developments in Combating Illicit Narcotics Trafficking

      In the international scenario of illicit narcotics trafficking, Malaysia has long stood as a transit country along the drug route from the notorious opium producing areas of the 'Golden Triangle' to Australia and the West. Malaysia is especially vulnerable as a transit country because of her geographical location, proximity to the Golden Triangle, long coastline and excellent communication system. In the process of their transportation into and out of Malaysia a certain proportion of the drugs have found their way into the Malaysian community, creating and meeting the local demand for drugs.

    • LMM(86)42 Measures Taken by Singapore in Combating Narcotics Traffic

      According to Homer, when Ceyx, the King of Thessaly was drowned at sea, Morpheus the God of Dreams was despatched to deliver this dreaded message to Halcyone, his widow. Morpheus broke the news to Halcyone in her sleep through a dream. It was thought that this would help relieve her grief.

    • LMM(86)43 Recent Developments in Combating Drug Trafficking

      Ghana's law on Drugs Trafficking is contained in The Pharmacy and Drugs Act 1961 Act 64.

    • LMM(86)49 Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking-The Zambian Experience

      This paper addresses some aspects of the vexing questions of drug abuse and drug trafficking in recent years using Zambia's experience in attempting to combat the problem. The paper will, inter alia, attempt to examine the history and rationale of the legislation that seeks to control drug abuse and illicit trafficking, the escalation of the problem, the inadequacy of the law, the problem confronting law enforcement agencies in combating drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking and finally the paper will suggest possible remedies to the problems raised in the discussion.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Violence against Women

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    • LMM(86)26 Violence Against Women

      The problem of domestic violence has been seen primarily as a problem requiring legal solutions, thus response throughout the Commonwealth has tended to be legislative. The legal response to wife abuse varies from country to country.

    • LMM(86)36 Violence Against Women

      In this country it is claimed statistically that there are more women than men. If this is true then it means that women by sheer numerical strength have a greater role to play in national development but this is not the case at present. Why is this so? There are a number of reasons.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Mutual Assistance in the Commonwealth

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    • LMM(86)16 Commissions Of Enquiry Sitting in Other Jurisdictions

      This paper will confine itself to inquiries established by federal Royal Commission and not deal with lesser statutory inquiries or administratively established inquiries. Federal Royal Commissions are established under both Royal prerogative and the federal Royal Commissions Act 1902, s.18. However, all Commissions rely on their statutory powers and protection under the Act.

    • LMM(86)19 The Implementation of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction within the United Kingdom

      This paper has been prepared on a slightly false pretence. Although the United Kingdom has enacted the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 Part I of which will give effect to the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction of 1980 (hereafter "The Hague Convention") this Act only comes into force on 1st August of this year. Therefore this paper will concentrate on the problems encountered in implementing the 1985 Act and in particular Part I and on the arrangements which have been made by the United Kingdom in respect of the Central Authorities and the procedure for these Authorities to receive applications under the Convention.

    • LMM(86)31 Multilateral Conventions Relating to International Terrorism

      The purpose of this paper is to examine the techniques employed by certain multilateral conventions in co-ordinating State action against international terrorism.

    • LMM(86)39 The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

      At the Senior Officials' Meeting held in London in January 1986, Canada agreed to prepare a brief paper on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in the light of its experience under that Convention.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Review of the Activities of the Commonwealth Secretariat in the Legal Field

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    • LMM(86)4 Review of the Activities of the Commonwealth Secretariat in the Legal Field

      Much water has flowed under the bridge since the Legal Division was established in 1969 and its miniscule staff of first three (Director, an assistant and a secretary) was charged with "the primary role of keeping governments informed of legal developments throughout the Commonwealth". Almost two decades on, the size of the Legal Division remains miniscule, but the the depth and range of its activities has grown beyond recognition. This has been achieved through a mode of operation both catalyctic and unashamedly exploitative of the readiness of others to help.

    • LMM(86)14 The Work of the Commonwealth Secretariat's Human Rights Unit

      Following endorsement in principle by Heads of Government of the recommendations in the Report of the Commonwealth Working Group on Human Rights, Commonwealth Law Ministers at their meeting in Sri Lanka in 1983 considered a Secretariat memorandum on the subject (LMM(83)16).

    • LMM(86)20 Patriation of Inherited Imperial Statutes

      The great preponderance of the jurisdictions within the Commonwealth share the inheritance of a basic system of law comprised of the common law of England and the doctrines of equity, coupled with a body of statute law, enacted by Parliament in the United Kingdom (or predecessor Parliaments, that has been given local effect. This common legal inheritance is one of the acknowledged links in shared institutions and values which maintain the strength of the Commonwealth. Although states, on independence, have acquired full autonomy with respect to the direction of legal change and development and the policy and content of legislation, there has been little inclination to replace the basic system to which they have succeeded.

    • LMM(86)15 Volunteer Lawyers: The Untapped Potential

      This report grew out of a belief that the use of lawyers on a voluntary basis was a response to the legal needs of many Commonwealth countries which had been largely neglected and unexplored, and which deserved further attention. It seemed to be largely a matter of requesting governments, volunteer organisations and potential volunteers failing to join forces. Governments had not considered lawyers as a volunteer group, nor had they considered the use of volunteers as a way of meeting their legal needs.

    • LMM(86)17 Course for Government Legal Advisers

      From the time of its inception in 1969, the Legal Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat has enjoyed the closest co-operation with the Director of Studies of the United Kingdom Government Legal Officers' Course (as it used to be called) and it has been customary for the Director of the Legal Division to serve as a member of the Course Advisory Board. The present Director was one of the moving spirits behind the inauguration of the Commonwealth Law Bulletin.

    • LMM(86)30 The Formation and Subsequent Progress of the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel

      While the problems which have long been associated with the acute dearth of trained draftsmen throughout the Commonwealth have persisted, the subject of legislative drafting has continued to receive the attention it deserves at successive Law Ministers' Meetings.

    • LMM(86)48 The Challenge of International White Collar Crime: The Need for Immediate Concrete Counter-Measures

      We find ourselves again discussing international crime and, in particular, the cancer of illicit trafficking in drugs and all the hardship and harm that this evil causes. Law Ministers have discussed these issues before and, I dare say, will have occasion to do so again. Let us hope, however, today that our words will not be 'chaff in the wind' but will see some result.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts The Law of Copyright and Computer Software

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    • LMM(86)37 Protection Of Computer Software

      In today's age of technology, with every day witnessing a new application, it is probably the computer, in all its manifold forms, which increasingly affects our daily lives to a greater extent than any other technological skill which human ingenuity has devised in this century. In the home, in the office, in the factory, in the shop, on the ground, in the air, and over the seas, the computer enables us to perform functions in a flash which formerly took an age or could not be performed at all. Like all brilliant advances the concept on which computer technology rests is simple: it processes information, which of course is what human judgement and reason has been doing for all time; but by combining the use of electricity and the electron with the simple logic of a binary system, the process takes place at the fastest speed known to man - i.e. the speed of light.

    • LMM(86)59 The Law of Copyright and Computer Software

      The law of copyright is concerned with the protection of authorship and the encouragement of intellectual creativity in literature, drama, music art and the dissemination of information. It gives those who create works (copyrighted) rights of control over the use to which the public may put those works.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Extra-territorial Jurisdiction claimed by the Courts of the United States

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    • LMM(86)7 The Immunity of States from the Jurisdiction of Foreign Courts

      A good deal of attention has been focussed in recent years in several countries including those in the Commonwealth on the question of the scope, extent and application of the doctrine of sovereign immunity in regard to claims to immunity by states from the jurisdiction of foreign courts. While the doctrine in its traditional form, based on the principle of par in parem non habet imperium. has been adhered to by a number of states over a long period, there has been a growing trend in some countries towards a restrictive application of the doctrine by carving out certain exceptions where immunity from jurisdictions were to be denied.

    • LMM(86)18 Recent Developments in Relation to United States Extraterritorial Claims

      Over the years there have been a number of instances where U.S laws have been applied to persons, things or conduct outside the United States apparently without regard for the legitimate interests of other countries. This paper outlines recent developments in two principal areas of concern.

    • LMM(86)41 Sovereign Immunity : Australian Legislation-The Foreign States Immunities Act 1985

      Australia has enacted the Foreign States immunities Act 1985, which came into force on 1 April 1986 (apart from s.18(2) which concerns sister-ship arrest, an action not currently available under Australian law).

    • LMM(86)47 Jurisdictional Immunity-The Tanzanian Experience

      In the perspective of world history Tanzania's experience as a modern sovereign State is quite new. We will celebrate our Jubilee anniversary on 9 December, 1986! Within this short period in a life of a nation, Tanzania has had the advantage of experiencing two major types of jurisdictional immunities, firstly that of being a sovereign State with its property immune from suits and legal process in judicial organs of other foreign States. In this regard we are all aware of other 'states' some quite near us at the present venue which the community of nations has categorically refused to recognize and accord them sovereign status.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Options in Law Revision

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    • LMM(86)8 Law Revision in the Caribbean

      There are 18 Commonwealth Territories in or near the Caribbean of which twelve have been independent for varying periods since 1962, and six are United Kingdom Dependencies. A note of the existing text of the legislation of each Territory is set out in the Appendix at the end of this paper.

    • LMM(86)22 Options in Law Revision-Emerging Problems and Emerging Trends: The Hong Kong Experience

      In an article in the Hong Kong Law Journal some years ago, Professor Bartholomew of the University of Singapore wrote that the object of law revision was - "to make available to the public and to the legal profession an up-to-date, comprehensive, concise and readily available statement of the written law of the country".

    • LMM(86)45 Options in Law Revision: Emerging Problems and Emerging Trends-A Zimbabwe Perspective

      In Britain and many other Commonwealth countries statute law revision is a relatively recent phenomenon. Thus, although in Britain, the earliest English statute on record is dated 1235, we are told by the authors of Craies on Statute Law that it was not until 1856 that the process of statute law revision began in that country. That process appears to be still in progress because as recently as 1965, the Law Commission established in that year, had as part of its principal objects, the task of "systematic development and reform, including in particular the codification of the law, the elimination of anomalies, the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary enactments, the reduction of the number of separate enactments and generally the simplification and modernisation of the law..."

    • LMM(86)53 Options in Law Revision-The Uganda Experience

      It is without doubt that social and economic stability are basic constituents of a sound legal order which is, in turn, a pre-requisite for national development. This has never been so true in the history of Uganda as it is today. The role of the Ministry of Justice in the restoration of the rule of law and maintenance of law and order and the preservation of human rights in Uganda is fundamental and cannot be over-emphasized.

    • LMM(86)60 Options in Law Revision: Codification of The Law-Ghana's Experience

      Before the advent of European Settlers to the then Gold Coast, there was only one system of law in the then Gold Coast. It was the unwritten law known as Customary Law which varied from one ethnic group to another, but which was readily enforced and observed by native kings and their subjects. This Customary Law cannot be classified as a Code.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts M iscellaneous

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    • LMM(86)10 A Pilot Community Mediation Service

      The Christchurch Service was established as a two year pilot project with the aim of testing the validity, within New Zealand, of community mediation as a way to settle disputes between persons with ongoing contact with one another. The kinds of disputes envisaged were, for example, between neighbours, family members or persons who worked together in either a voluntary or paid capacity. It was considered that the formal legal system, with an inevitable w in or lose outcome, was not always the appropriate vehicle for this kind of conflict there being no facility to deal with future relationships or a compromise settlement.

    • LMM(86)32 Proposed Procedures to Simplify the Presentation of Complex Commercial Criminal Cases

      The substance of this paper was prepared by the Attorney General's Chambers in Hong Kong for presentation, along with other papers, to a Select Committee of the Hong Kong Legislative Council. The paper was prepared before the publication of the report of the Fraud Trials Committee chaired by The Right Honourable The Lord Roskill, P.C. but not supplied to that Committee. It is interesting to compare the paper and the Roskill Report in respect of the area they both cover.

    • LMM(86)38 Law, Technology and Developing Countries

      The interest in harnessing technology to legal work is longstanding in many industrialised countries. Yet the success of efforts so far has been patchy. Many promises have been unfulfilled, and the early optimism has been replaced by a more cautious view of the relevance - and particularly the cost effectiveness - of technology.

    • LMM(86)44 Legal Practitioner Mobility in the Commonwealth

      Of all the legal ties which b ind the Commonwealth, perhaps the most significant are those of personal interchange within the community of legal practitioners. Yet this human dimension of legal practitioner mobility in Commonwealth legal cooperation has never received sustained examination at the non-Commonwealth level. The multiplicity of approaches found in existing national legislation makes up a complex jig-saw in which any coherent policy is not always easily perceived.

    • LMM(86)62 Working Paper on a Proposed Convention on Airport Security

      Developments in recent years indicate that despite the advancement of technical preventative measures implemented under the auspices of ICAO and broad international acceptance of the Tokyo, Hague and Montreal Conventions, unlawful acts against the safety of civil aviation continue to seriously affect the operations of air services. Such unlawful acts have not been confined to aircraft in flight. in recent years, acts of violence at international airports have involved indiscriminate killing of innocent travellers.

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