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OVERVIEW

The Registrar General’s Office is governed by the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act [Cap 42]. The Act regulates the registration of births, deaths, marriages, name changes, aliases and the solemnization of marriages.

The Office of the Registrar General operates under the Ministry of Justice. Registrar General is appointed by the Prime Minister with the consent of Cabinet. There are also sub-registrars who are appointed by the Registrar General following consultation with the Chief Magistrate and with consent of the Prime Minister.

At present, the Registrar General is the Hon. Minister for Justice; Sione Vuna Fa’otusia. There are 10 sub-registrars in Tongatapu whereas in the outer islands, Government Representatives acts as sub-registrars except where there is a resident Magistrate, the Magistrate also acts as the sub-registrar for that district.

The Office of the Registrar General consists of the following staff members –

·         1 Deputy Secretary

·         1 Legal Officer

·         1 Assistant Secretary

·         1 Vital Statistics Officer

·         1 Digital Archivist

·         3 Computer Assistants

·         9 Clerks

For enquiries, contact 25-618/ 25-671 or email Sesilia.U.’Eliesa on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Hamani Topui on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal hears all appeals from the Supreme Court and from the Land Court except appeals from the Land Court relating to the determination of hereditary estates and titles (clause 92 of the Constitution).

There is no right of appeal from the decisions of the Court of Appeal. It is the highest court in the Kingdom except in respect of appeals from the Land Court on matters concerning hereditary estates and titles. Those appeals are heard by His Majesty in Privy Council.

The Court of Appeal sits at Nuku’alofa twice a year for up to two weeks each session. The sessions are usually in March/April and September. The rulings of the Court are delivered at the end of each session.

There is a panel of Judges of the Court of Appeal. The Judges are appointed by His Majesty in Privy Council (clause 85 of the Constitution).

All Court of Appeal Judges are presently appointed on fixed term contracts.

The selection of which Judges will sit during each session of the Court is made by the Lord President of the Court of Appeal (often in consultation with the Vice President).

The Lord President of the Court of Appeal is Lord President Owen Godfrey Paulsen.  

The Vice President is Hon. Justice Michael Moore.

There were two resident Judges of the Court of Appeal in the reporting period namely the Lord President Owen Godfrey Paulsen and Lord Tevita Tupou. The other Judges reside overseas. The overseas Judges are all eminent jurists who have held high judicial office in their own countries.

The overseas Judges that sat on the Court of Appeal in this reporting period were:

Hon. Justice Michael Moore (Australia) (Vice President);

Hon. Justice Kenneth Handley (Australia);

Hon. Justice Sir Peter Blanchard (New Zealand); and

Hon. Justice Rodney Hansen QC (New Zealand).

Jurisdiction

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