Attorney-General of Fiji

The Attorney-General is a political and legal officer in Fiji.[1] The attorney-general is the chief law officer of the State, and has responsibility for supervising Fijian law and advising the government on legal matters. Like other members of the Fijian Cabinet, the attorney-general is appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister.

Attorney-General of Fiji
Coat of arms of
the Republic of Fiji
Siromi Turaga
since 24 December 2022
StyleThe Honourable
Reports toPrime Minister of Fiji
AppointerPresident of Fiji
First holderRobert Wilson Hamilton

According to the 2013 Constitution of Fiji, the attorney-general is required to be a registered legal practitioner in Fiji, with not less than fifteen years' post-admission legal practice, either in Fiji or internationally.[2] The attorney-general is a member of the Cabinet of Fiji,[2] and is normally expected to be a Member of Parliament. The Prime Minister may, however, choose an attorney-general from outside Parliament after determining there is no suitably qualified Member of Parliament who supports the Government. An Attorney-General who is not a Member of Parliament may sit in Parliament, but may not vote.[2]

The office of the attorney-general is the oldest surviving executive office in Fiji, having been established in the Kingdom of Fiji in 1872. It continued throughout Fiji's years as a British crown colony (1874–1970) and subsequently as the Dominion of Fiji (1970–1987) and republic (1987–present), with minimal modifications.

The attorney-general was the only Cabinet office, apart from that of the prime minister, specifically established by the 1997 Constitution, which required the attorney-general to be a member of either the House of Representatives or the Senate. A unique feature of the office was that except for voting rights (which could be exercised only in the chamber of which the attorney-general was officially a member), the attorney-general had the authority to participate in the business of both chambers of Parliament. This feature became redundant upon the adoption of the 2013 Constitution, which established a unicameral parliament.

Role of the Attorney-General's Office

The role of the attorney-general is defined as "providing essential legal expertise and support to the Government". More specific functions include "legislative drafting", "legal aid", "the prerogative of mercy" (advising the President), "liquor licensing" and "film censorship".[3] Thus, the attorney-general is responsible for all legal needs of government departments, statutory bodies, and state-owned enterprises.

The office has three offices in Suva, Lautoka, and Labasa respectively. Government legal work in the country's Central and Eastern Divisions is undertaken by the central office in Suva, headed by the Solicitor-General, while the Lautoka office (headed by the Principal Legal Officer) is responsible for the Western Division. The Northern Division is covered by the Labasa office.

List of attorneys-general of Fiji

Note that some attorneys-general have held office in multiple consecutive administrations, particularly in the colonial era.

Kingdom of Viti (1871–1874)

No. Name Term of office Appointed by (King):
1Robert Wilson Hamilton1872Seru Epenisa Cakobau
2Charles Rossiter Forwood1872–1873
3Sydney Charles Burt1873–1874

Crown colony (1874–1970)

No. Name Term of office Appointed by (Governor):
4James Herman De Ricci1875–1876Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon
5Joseph Hector Garrick1876–1882Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon
6Fielding Clarke1882–1886Sir William Des Vœux
7Henry Spencer Berkeley1886–1889
8John Symonds Udal1889–1899Sir John Bates Thurston
9Henry Edward Pollock1901–1903William Lamond Allardyce
10Albert Ehrhardt1903–1914Sir Henry Moore Jackson
11Alfred Karney Young1914–1922Sir Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott
12Sir Kenneth MacKenzie1922–1927Sir Cecil Hunter Rodwell
13Percy Alexander McElwaine1927–1931Sir Eyre Hutson
14Charles Gough Howell1931–1933Sir Arthur George Murchison Fletcher
15Ransley Samuel Thacker1933–1938
16Edward Enoch Jenkins1938–1945Sir Arthur Frederick Richards
17John Henry Vaughan1945–1949Sir Alexander Grantham
18Brian Andre Doyle1949–1956Sir Brian Freeston
19Ashley Martin Greenwood1956–1963Sir Ronald Herbert Garvey
20Henry Roger Justin Lewis1963–1970Sir Kenneth Phipson Maddocks

Dominion (1970–1987)

No. Name Term of office Served under: [1]
Governor-General Prime Minister
21John Neil Falvey1970–1977Ratu Sir George CakobauRatu Sir Kamisese Mara
22Sir Vijay R. Singh1977–1979
23Andrew Indar Narayan Deoki1979–1981
24Manikam Pillai1981–1984
Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau
25Qoriniasi Babitu Bale1984–1987
26Jai Ram Reddy1987Timoci Bavadra
27Alipate Qetaki1987vacant
[1] The Attorney-General in this period was formally appointed by the Governor-General, but on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Republic (1987–present)

No. Name Term of office Served under: [1]
President Prime Minister
28Sailosi Kepa1987–1992Ratu Sir Penaia GanilauRatu Sir Kamisese Mara
29Apaitia Seru1992Major general (Rtd) Sitiveni Rabuka
30Kelemedi Bulewa1992–1996
Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara
31Etuate Tavai1996–1999
32Anand K. Singh1999–2000Mahendra Chaudhry
Ratu Tevita Momoedonu
(27)Alipate Qetaki2000–2001Ratu Josefa IloiloLaisenia Qarase
Ratu Tevita Momoedonu
Laisenia Qarase
(25)Qoriniasi Babitu Bale2001–2006Laisenia Qarase
33Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum2007–2014 Rear admiral (Rtd) Frank Bainimarama
Ratu Epeli Nailatikau
34Faiyaz Koya2014
(33)Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum2014–2022
Jioji Konrote
Wiliame Katonivere
35Siromi Turaga2022–presentWiliame KatonivereMajor general (Rtd) Sitiveni Rabuka
[1] The Attorney-General in this period is formally appointed by the President, but on the advice of the Prime Minister.

See also

  • Cabinet of Fiji


  1. "Welcome to the website of the Office of the Attorney-General". Office of the Attorney-General. © Copyright 2005-2008, Office of the Attorney-General. Archived from the original on 24 October 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  2. "Constitution of the Republic of Fiji" (PDF). p. 55. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  3. Office of the Attorney-General Archived October 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine (Fiji), official website.
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