Summary: General overview of Solomon Islands' national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.

National laws on children's rights 

Status of the CRC in national law

Ratified international treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, do not form part of the national law of Solomon Islands unless they have been incorporated through domestic legislation. However; courts can and have cited the Convention in their decisions as interpretive guidance in applying national law. Where a national law expressly contradicts the Convention, that law will be applied in place of the Convention.[1]

Constitution: Chapter II of the Constitution of Solomon Islands includes a number of rights provisions that apply regardless of age and a small number of provisions throughout the Constitution make explicit reference to children:

  • Section 5(1): provides that no person shall be deprived of his or her personal liberty, except as is authorised by law and in following an end specifically listed within section 5(1). Among the permitted grounds for depriving a person of his or her liberty is the education or welfare of a person under the age of 18, carried out with the consent of a parent or guardian or under the order of a court.

  • Section 10(10)(a): provides that excluding the public from legal proceedings is permitted if provided for in law and if it is done for the welfare of persons under the age of eighteen years.

  • Section 11(2): entitles religious communities to establish and maintain places of education.

  • Section 11(4): provides that no person attending a place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance except with his or her consent. For persons under the age of eighteen, parents may consent on the child's behalf.

  • Section 20: makes reference to the citizenship rights of children

  • Sections 130(1) and 132(3): refer to children with regards to the applicability of pensions law

Legislation: there is no comprehensive or consolidated Children's Act in Solomon Islands, rather legislation relevant to children can be found in a number of Codes and Acts. Legislation of particular relevance to children includes, but is by no means limited to:

  • The Juvenile Offenders Act 1972

  • The Criminal Code Act (Cap 18)

  • The Criminal Procedure Code Act (Cap 7)

  • The Prisons Act (Cap 111)

  • The Labour Act (Cap 75)

  • The Islanders' Marriage Act (Cap 47)

  • The Adoption Act 1958 (UK)

  • The Affiliation, Separation and Maintenance Act 1996

  • The Citizenship Act 1992

  • The Births and Deaths (Registration) Act 1988

  • The Education Act 1978

  • The Guardianship of Infants Acts 1886 and 1925 (UK)

Legal Research

The website of the Parliament of Solomon Islands maintains a database of legislation, including Acts and Bills before Parliament ( Domestic legislation is also available through the website of the Pacific Legal Information Institute ( as is the national Constitution ( In addition, the GlobaLex project at New York University has published a guide to legal research in the South Pacific ( and the World Legal Information Institute ( and the U.S. Law Library of Congress ( both provide access to a selection of legal and governmental resources.

Case Law

CRC Jurisprudence

The Convention on the Rights of the Child has been cited by the High Court of Solomon Islands, including in cases on the sentencing of people for crimes committed while under the age of 18 (

Case Law Research

The Pacific Legal Information Institute provides access to a number of databases of national case law, including in relation to the judgments of the Court of Appeal, High Court, Central Magistrates Court, Customary Land Appeal Court and the High Court of the Western Pacific ( All resources are available in English.

Compliance with the CRC

In its Concluding Observations of 2003, the Committee on the Rights of the Child noted that a Child Rights Bill had been drafted with the aim of bringing national legislation into line with the principles and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but expressed concern that legislation on children's rights had been long awaiting enactment. At the time of writing, the Child Rights Bill had not been passed.

In depth analysis

Among the more specific concerns raised during the Committee's 2003 Concluding Observations was the failure of the State to incorporate the general principles of the Convention into national practice. While noting that the principle of best interests of the child had been included within some statutes, the Committee expressed concern that it had not been defined in national legislation nor was it reflected in relevant policy or programmes. The Committee also noted a failure of the State to provide for respect for the views of the child within its legislation that children's views were not “systematically sought and taken into consideration with regards to decisions that may affect them.”

Several of the Committee's recommendations also related to the issue of ill-treatment and abuse of children, as well as sexual exploitation. The Committee noted the prevalence of abuse and sexual abuse within the family, and the absence of mandatory reporting procedures in relation to sexual abuse. The Committee also expressed concern at the prevalence of violence against children, including corporal punishment, and urged the State to “[t]ake all legislative and other measures to prohibit all forms of physical and mental violence, including corporal punishment”. With regards to sexual exploitation, the Committee expressed concern that children of both sexes were exposed to prostitution as a result of economic difficulties and urged the State to take steps to address this, including by preventing the criminalisation of child victims of prostitution.

While noting steps to implement the principle of the best interests of the child within the juvenile justice system, including by providing counselling and pardons to children brought before the court, the Committee expressed concern that the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) remained too low (8 years) and that since separate facilities existed for juvenile offenders children were liable to be detained with adults. The Committee urged the State to address these specific concerns and to take steps to set up a system of juvenile courts; to review legislation to ensure that children cannot be sentenced to life imprisonment; to ensure that children remain in regular contact with their families while in the juvenile justice system; and to review the powers of the police in criminal proceedings.

Current legal reform projects

The State reported in 2003 that a draft Child Rights Bill was under consideration. At the time of writing, this Bill was yet to be enacted.

[1] R v. K [2006] SBHC 53; HCSI-CRC 419 of 2005 (6 December 2006) (


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