Welcome to Introduction to Law for Semester one, 2020.

Introduction to Law is one of the compulsory units offered to Diploma Year 1 Business Studies students. In this unit we will discuss a number of topics that relate to the basic aspects of law at an introductory level. Law governs human societies, the activities of individuals and corporate entities, including private businesses and government departments. This unit introduces law to students and covers the different sources of law in Solomon Islands, their jurisdictions, the public and private law, the court system in Solomon Islands, and also examines the basic principles of a contract or an agreement.

The general objectives of this unit are to develop the students with comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the law relating to the basic legal theory, an introduction to the basic rules of contract, the tort of negligence, the consequences of misleading conduct, the criminal process and the law relating to property ownership (including intellectual property).

Upon successful completion of Introduction to Law, students should be able to acquire a basic understanding and differentiate:

  1. Legal rules and non-legal rules

  2. The different sources of law in Solomon Islands, its authority, and importance (Constitution, Statute, Courts, Custom, Common Law & Equity) 

  3. Public and private law

a. Constitutional law, criminal law, administrative law

b. Law of contract, torts, property, family and employment.

     4. Classification of Law

      5. Court system in Solomon Islands

a.Court of appeal, High Court, Magistrate, Local Court, Chiefs

      6. Contracts and agreements,

a. Essential principle/s of a contract/agreement

b. Parties to a contract

c. Obligations of parties

d. Terms and conditions in a contract/agreement

e. Consequences of a breach.


(The file type for this topic is NOT accepted, hence I use this space instead for time being)



At the end of this chapter you should be able to:

  • distinguish between legal rules and non-legal rules;

  • describe how legal rules are created and enforced;

  • understand the importance of law in society; and

  • explain how and why  the law changes constantly


In this topic we are going to explore some very basic ideas about the law. We will start off by looking at the nature of law. Our main concern is to mark out the differences between law (legal rules) and non-legal rules. The other issue we are going to discuss is the question of how our laws are made and enforced. And, finally, we will discuss the important role that law assumes in our society.


For a long time now, jurists have tried to define ‘law’ but, despite the ingenuity of the some of their attempts, none is yet to proffer a definition that everyone can accept. For this reason, you cannot find any definition of the word law in these notes. For our purpose it suffices to say simply that laws are essentially rules which regulate our behaviour. But this does not help us one bit because in society there are many other types of rules which regulate our behaviour but we do not normally call these rules laws. 

For example, sport rules regulate the how we play our games. Religious rules regulate how we worship our God and how we conduct ourselves in our daily affairs. School rules, such as the ones we have here at the university, regulate how students dress, eat and when to go to bed. And if you are a member of a particular profession or hold a particular job, rules of etiquette regulate what you do or say.

Generally, for one reason or another, we feel obliged to obey these rules and yet do not normally call them laws. So when a netball player kicks the ball during a game, we do not say that she has broken the law. We say instead that she has caused an infringement or use some other term that does not suggest the involvement of the legal system. Likewise, if a man covets another man’s wife, we say that he is disobeying one of God’s commandments rather than breaking the law.

In all these situations, we are tacitly drawing a distinction between legal rules (laws) on the one hand and non-legal rules on the other. We seem to accept that ‘breaking the law’ is different from causing an infringement in a game or disobeying a commandment. In other words, we are saying that the law is different from netball rules or the commandments (religious rule). This brings us to the critical issue that I want to discuss with you here: How do legal rules differ from non-legal rules? To rephrase the same question, what is it that makes legal rules different from the other types of rules in society?

There are several differences between legal rules and non-legal rules. These differences relate to the manner the rules are created, the scope of their applications and their enforcement.

First, legal rules are created by a national legislative authority in accordance with a highly formal procedure (the exact procedure will be discussed shortly). What you should note is that the legislative authority usually has the power to make or unmake laws. Non-legal rules are made, not by a national body, but by particular interests in society. Sports rules, for instance, are created by those who are responsible for administering sports. The procedures they follow are less formal than the law-making procedures.

Second, legal rules apply generally to everyone within the area over which the law-making authority has jurisdiction (power). Non-legal rules apply to only particular groups in society. School rules for instance only apply to students at that particular school.

Third, legal rules are enforced by formal and specialist institutions – the police, the court and the prison authorities. Non-legal rules are enforced rather informally. For example, customary rules are not enforced by a police force but by the moral coercion of public opinion. This is one reason why our customary practices are dying out.

Having said all these, it is important to note that there are some rules which straddle both categories, ie they are capable of being classified as legal rules and non-legal rules. School rules and rules of etiquette are obvious examples.


The most important laws of our legal system are made by the National Parliament and the Courts. In addition, as we will see later, we derive some of our laws from custom. These are not made by Parliament or the Courts but evolved from the practices of our forefathers and handed down to us through succeeding generations.  They constitute (a relatively unimportant) part of the legal system because the national Constitution (sch. 3) elevates them to the status of law. The reasons for this are entirely political and, therefore, of no interest to us in this unit.

We will now turn to the more important law-making institutions and consider in some detail the procedures that they follow in creating our laws.


As we have already seen, the National Parliament is responsible for making laws for this country. It derives its law-making power from the Constitution. The process by Parliament makes law is called enactment or legislation.

When Parliament legislates, it follows a very formal and elaborate procedure. All our enacted law originate as bills, which embody policies formulated by the cabinet (executive). There are two types of bills: public and private bills. A public bill is one that will change the general law of the country when it becomes law.  Government bills (sponsored by a government minister) and private members’ bills (sponsored by any member of parliament, usually on public issues) are public bills. A private bill, on the other hand, is a bill that will only affect the interests a private person or a group of persons or a particular locality.

 Bills are drafted by the government draughtsman and then sent to Parliament for enactment.  A bill must go through several stages in Parliament before it becomes law. The stages it must pass through are as follows:

First Reading:                      This is a mere formality. The clerk of the House simply reads out the title of the bill, which is then printed and distributed to all the members. There is no debate. Publishing the bill to members gives them the opportunity to study it and make up their minds on whether to support or oppose it.

Second Reading:                At the beginning of this stage, the minister responsible for the bill moves a motion the bill be now read a second time. If the motion is carried (passed or agreed to), the bill is then debated in general terms only. This may involve explaining, supporting or criticising the underlying principles of the bill. The detailed provisions are not debated and no amendments are made. If, however, the motion is defeated, then the bill must be withdrawn. It is possible for a withdrawn bill to be re-introduced in the house at some future time.

Committee Stage:                After clearing the second reading, the bill is then referred to a committee. In some jurisdictions, this committee is a standing committee of the Parliament. In Solomon Islands, the Committee comprises the whole house. When the whole house is sitting as a committee, the speaker comes down from his seat and is addressed as chairman, the proceedings being conducted in a less formal manner. It is at this stage that the bill is subjected to a detailed examination. Clause by clause, the bill is debated and if the committee deems it proper, amendments can be proposed and voted on.

Report Stage:                       At the end of the committee stage, Parliament resumes and the bill is then formally reported back to the members now sitting as members of Parliament. This requires the minister responsible for the bill to simply tell the speaker that the bill has gone through the committee stage with or without amendments. If indeed, amendments are made at committee stage, these must now be considered and voted on.

Third Reading:                     At the conclusion of the report stage, the minister moves that the bill be read a third time. Although the bill is debated again, the debate is limited to general principles. Only minor amendments are made at this stage.

Royal Assent:                       At this stage, the Governor General gives his assent to the bill. In doing so, the G.G acts on behalf of the Queen, who is the head of state.

After all these stages have been cleared the bill now becomes law, called statute, Act of Parliament or, less commonly, legislation. But although it is now law it does not become operational unless and until it is published in the National Gazette, which is a monthly publication by the office of the Attorney General. It is possible for the Act itself to specify the date it is to come into operation. If this is the case the Act only comes into operation on the date so specified.

The Court

The work of the courts is to interpret the law as ordained by Parliament and apply it to solve cases that come before them for determination. It often happens that a particular case raises a dispute on which there is no existing legal principle. When this happens, the judge presiding over the case has to formulate a new principle or rule, which he then uses to settle the dispute fairly between the disputants. If the court is one of our superior courts, say, the High Court or the Court of Appeal, the principle thus formulated becomes part of our legal system. It will be applied to cases that arise in the future which are similar to the one already decided. This practice of applying previous decisions to similar cases arising in the future is called judicial precedent.

We will have occasion to look at the doctrine of judicial precedent later in the course. For now you need only note that the doctrine gives the judiciary an excuse to make law. Strangers to the legal profession are often surprised to find that some of the important laws in our legal system are made, not by the legislature but by the courts. This is why judges are sometimes called ‘the silent legislators’.

3.             THE FUNCTIONS OF LAW

Imposition/Maintenance of public order

This is the primary function of the law. The proper functioning of society depends almost entirely on a strict imposition of public order.  If there are no rules (a situation known as anarchy), most of our daily activities would be severely disrupted, life will be intolerable and society may eventually disintegrate.  By regulating how human beings behave towards each other and punishing those who do not comply with its requirements, law maintains the order which society needs to remain a proper working unit.  Examples of laws which seek to maintain public order are:  laws prohibiting drinking in public areas, laws against assault etc.

Resolving Disputes

We are social creatures. We always stay together with our fellow human beings.  But staying together creates conflicts because we have different interests.  If these conflicts are not solved amicably or if we allow individuals to take the law into their own hands, chaos would ensue and society will suffer. Law minimise the disruptive potential of conflicts by providing a peaceful method for resolving those conflicts.

Reinforcing Group Values

Some laws simply reflect the social and moral values of society (e.g. laws against sexual immorality, stealing and murder). By prohibiting such conduct and punishing delinquents, law constantly reinforces in our conscience the common values which cement society together.

Promoting Public Welfare

In modern society numerous laws are enacted to promote public welfare or schemes which tend to promote public interest. So we have laws on education, health, pension funds for employees, compensation schemes for workmen injured at work and so on. Such public schemes would fail if they are not regulated by law. A rather loose way of expressing the same point is to say that modern governments use the law as a tool for implementing their policies.


    As we have already seen, there are several institutions which are responsible for enforcing the law. This is a very important part of the modern legal system. Without a system of enforcement, the law cannot work effectively.

    The first law enforcement agency is the police. The work of the police is to detect and apprehend those who violate the law, collect evidence, ensure offenders turn up for court and prosecute minor criminal offences. The work of the police is very visible because they do their duties in the open and their exploits are sometimes widely reported by the media.

    The second law enforcement agency is the court. This is the focal point of the legal system. Its work involves interpreting laws passed by Parliament; pronouncing authoritatively on the rights and obligations of litigants (civil jurisdiction); determining whether an accused is guilty or innocent; and passing judgement on those who are found guilty (criminal jurisdiction).

    The final law enforcement agency is the prison authorities. When an accused is convicted and sentenced, the prison authority takes him in and administers the punishment on him. Among other things, prison authorities ensure that punishment is exacted in a humane way.

    5.             HOW THE LAW CHANGES

    An important feature of the law which you need to understand is that it is a dynamic system. It is not static but changes over time and distance. For example our laws are different from those of Papua New Guinea and Fiji. Even in our own country, the laws are not the same every time. Previously, there was no law that made it obligatory for employers to contribute funds to an employee superannuation fund. This has now changed as a result of the enactment of the SINPF Act in 1976.

    As a business man (or woman) it is important that you keep abreast of the latest changes in the legal landscape. This may require that you consult government law offices, private practitioners (this will cost you), advisory groups (eg Small Business Enterprises Centre) and even the media. Although it takes time and money, it will save you a lot of trouble if you keep yourself informed about the latest changes in the legal system.

    Legal changes are caused by other changes taking place in society. Political change, technological change, changes in moral opinion etc influence and contribute to legal change. The legal system must serve society so it must change to respond to these other changes taking place in society. A legal system that does not keep up with the social environment in which it operates will be ineffective. In extreme cases it may even break up in the form of a revolution.

    Changes in society work through the agency of human beings to get translated into legal change. Various groups in society seize upon the experiences and the changing circumstances of society to harness proposals for changing the law. Among the groups that are instrumental in bringing about legal change are the following:

    International agencies

    Many ideas for changing the law come from international agencies, who have a great deal of expert knowledge and therefore able to spot areas of the legal system that need to be improved. Examples include the United Nations Organisations (UNO), International Labour organization (ILO), South Pacific Commission (SPC) and the South Pacific Forum (SPF). They also set international standards on issues of concern to them (e.g. human rights and good governance) and then ask member countries to incorporate these standards in their domestic laws, thus bringing about legal change.

     Government departments

    Each government department is responsible for the implementation of a statute or number of statutes. In the course of administering a particular statute, the department may come across parts of the statute that need to be improved. The department may then recommend that the necessary changes be made. Alternatively the government may establish a special committee (for example, a law reform commission) to study specific areas of the law and recommend areas for reform. The desired change will happen when the government accepts and acts on the recommendations.

    Pressure groups

Pressure groups are local or international organizations that seek to influence the government in the way it runs the country. A well known international pressure group is Green Peace. Local examples include trade unions like SIPEU and student groups. Pressure groups are not part of the government but groups of individuals who share some common interest and who may wish to promote that interest by influencing legal change.


If the Parliament acts on a proposal for changing the law, the desired change may be brought about in any of the following ways or a combination of them.

 Repeal of an existing statute

This is where an existing Act of parliament is abolished or cancelled entirely. It may be replaced with a new or better one. If it is not replaced, the area it used to regulate becomes deregulated.

 Amending an existing statute

In this case, the statute itself is not abolished or cancelled. Instead certain parts or provisions are selected and amended, usually to improve the overall operation of the statute.

Enacting a new statute

The parliament may need to pass a new statute altogether to make provision for matters not previously regulated. Most legal changes happen this way. Parliament may also pass a new statute to override an unpopular legal principle established by a court decision. Whatever form legal change takes, the procedure is basically the same as what we have already discussed (see pp3-4 above).


  1. Contrast legal and non-legal rules.

  2. How would your community/village deal with the following incidents?

  1. John stands in the centre of the village at 12:00 midnight and shouts at the top of his voice

  2. Joy kills her sister when she finds out she is having an affair with her (Joy's) husband

  3. Joe has committed suicide

  1. Identify and explain two methods of creating law.

  2. Do you think that society can work properly without rules? Why/why not?

  3. Explain the work of the following law enforcement agencies:

  1. police

  2. the court

  3. prison authorities

  1. Describe how (a) international agencies and (b) government departments influence legal change.

  2. Describe what happens in the following types of legal change:

  1. repealing an existing statute

  2. amending an existing statute

  1. It is important that the law responds to other changes taking place in society.

  1. Do you agree/disagree?

  2. Give an example of a legal change that has resulted from:

    • changes in our moral values

    • technological change

    • economic change

    • political change



IT001: Basic Computing

This course is for Moodle Training Purposes.

A training which helps us to move around moodle@SINU.

Welcome to LIT510 for teaching and learning at the diploma level. With an increasingly high national profile, Literacy has become a significant learning area in the school curriculum for all Solomon Islands learners.

As such, your role is to become a competent English teacher with the knowledge and strategies to teach the students in your care.  Therefore, this Literacy unit will focus particularly on what children need to learn and to become effectively literate. The six (6) modes of Literacy will be emphasised. They are: reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and presenting (Dramatising) and what teachers can do to support their learning needs. Throughout the unit you will be introduced to a model of literacy practices and in tutorials, you will participate in a variety of literacy tasks based on these practices.

My name is Ethel Jessica Hirukeni. I am your lecturer for this unit. I have a wide range of teaching experiences in primary schools both nationally and internationally. I have acquired a Bachelor Degree from the University of Auckland and a certificate of teaching at Solomon Islands College of Higher Education. Personally, I am committed, dedicated, innovative, a self-starter, result focused with a view of working together of meeting your needs. I look forward to working with you during your study here and I wish you well in your studies. 

LIT510:Literacy helps you to develop your ability in broad knowledge and skills to interpret and use the term ‘literacy’. Diploma Teacher Trainees will understand the theories of literacy and its practices (6 modes & 4 resources). The unit will also assist you to reflect on issues concerning literacy development in the Solomon Islands and understand how literacy is integral to all curriculum areas. The use literacy strategies across the curriculum areas will be enhanced greatly.

This Unit consists of  an ongoing tutorials and the use of PowerPoint Presentation (PP) during lectures for sixteen weeks. There will be formative and Summative Assessments which they will be introduced to you by your lecturer.