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Review of PILON

In 2007 PILON undertook a review of its structure, with a view to establishing a formalised organisation. The review came about in response to the paper titled Mending the Nets presented by the then Attorney-General of Samoa at the 24th PILOM in Vanuatu in 2005. The paper outlined the significant challenges faced by Pacific law officers and noted that PILOM could be a significant organisation, used to address these issues. However it was noted that presently ‘the relationship between the region’s law officers... is not currently sustained beyond the annual PILOM meeting’.  The paper proposed that a review of PILOM was needed.

In response, PILOM members requested that the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat coordinate a review. To facilitate this task a review team was established, which consisted of representatives from Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu, the University of the South Pacific Law School and the Pacific Island Chiefs of Police. In mid 2006, Tuvalu withdrew from the team and was replaced by Kiribati. In late 2006 the Attorney-General of Samoa resigned from her position but continued as an ex officio member of the review team.

The review titled Pacific Islands Law Officers' Meeting (PILOM) Review was presented at the 25th PILOM in Kiribati in February 2007 and was a key issue of consideration at the meeting. The review made a series of recommendations for the reform of PILON.

At the 25th meeting, members agreed that reform was necessary to ensure PILOM became a relevant body that was able to identify, and take action, on issues common to law officers across the Pacific. Members also agreed that PILON should consider such issues, provided they did not fall within the responsibility of other Pacific regional organisations.
PILOM members agreed to most of the recommendations of the Forum Secretariat review and the Australian paper circulated on the Proposal for a Permanent PILOM Secretariat. Some amendments were made to the recommendations of these papers, primarily due to the establishment of a Steering Committee to develop these recommendations for consideration at the 26th PILON meeting. The key recommendations endorsed for PILON were to:
  • change the name of the organisation from PILOM to PILON to reflect the information-sharing role of the organisation
  • establish a permanent Secretariat for PILON. In the interim the Secretariat will be hosted by the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department
  • commence work on establishing the permanent Secretariat to be located at the Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji
  • establish a Steering Committee, which will build on the reform of PILON undertaken so far
  • adopt an issue-based agenda for future meetings, with a focus on key issues arising for law officers in the region and shifting the focus away from country reports
  • attend meetings of the Pacific Islands Forum Regional Security Committee where relevant
  • nominate a representative to participate in the Forum’s informal working groups on border management issues and Electronic Crime
  • consider convening a Pacific Law Ministers’ Meeting, but not before 2008
  • produce an ‘outcomes’ document at each meeting, commencing with the 25th PILOM, recording the agreed actions of the meeting and directing any recommendations to other bodies as appropriate, and
  • consider the outcomes of the work of the Steering Committee and the Secretariat at the next PILON meeting, including coming to an agreement on a formalised structure and guidelines for PILON.
The actual outcomes of the 25th PILOM are contained in the Chairs Report of that meeting.

The PILON Secretariat  developed a discussion paper, Establishing the Pacific Islands Law Officers' Network (PILON) as a regional organisation, which put forward proposals for the formalisation of the organisation in accordance with the outcomes of the 25th meeting.

The paper was a key item discussed at the 26th annual meeting. Members endorsed the paper with some changes. The outcomes of the 26th meeting set out the key amendments to the discussion paper.