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Mandate

The mandate of the International Affairs Division is premised on the general powers of the Attorney General as provided by Article 81 (2) of the Constitution, which states:

“The Attorney General shall advise on all legal matters connected with the affairs of Brunei Darussalam referred to him by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan or by the Government of Brunei Darussalam”

Mission

The Mission Statement of the International Affairs Division is:

“To Deliver The Highest Quality Legal Advice and Assistance to the Government of Brunei Darussalam And Its Agencies Through the Effective Application of Public International Law”

Background

The International Law Division, as it was known then, was established in 1996 with only 6 officers. Before 1996, international legal advisory matters were generally delegated to a few identified officers of the Attorney General’s Chambers. Pengiran Hajah Zabaidah binti Pengiran Haji Kamaludin was instrumental in the establishment of the Division and was the first Head of the Division. In 2001, Pengiran Kasmirhan Bin Pengiran Haji Tahir assumed the Head of the Division until May 2006. Since then Dayang Hjh Nor Hashimah Binti Haji Mohd. Taib, Principal Counsel was appointed to become the Head of the Division and currently there are in total 11 Counsels and 3 Legal Officers working under her in the Division.

Since its establishment, the work and simultaneously the specialisation of the Division in the areas of international law have grown and to reflect this, the name of the Division was, with effect from 1st of May 2007 changed to International Affairs Division.

Task and Functions

The functions of the International Affairs Division are as follows: –

• Giving advisory service on international law to the relevant Ministries and Government Agencies;
• Attending international meetings as the legal adviser of the Brunei Darussalam delegation and preparing official reports and recommendations following the international meetings attended;
• Preparing Papers on Legal Opinion, Legal Brief as well as Working Papers involving issues of international law;
• Undertaking comprehensive studies and preparing recommendation papers and legal opinion on the implications of international treaties and conventions prior to the signing, accession and/or ratification;
• Preparing necessary international documents such as Instrument of Ratification or Accession, Instrument of Full Powers etc.; and
• Undertaking studies and research for the purposes of preparing country reports as well as advising and/or vetting the various national reports which is submitted as part of Brunei Darussalam’s international legal obligation such as the World Trade Organization Trade Policy Review, Review for the Convention on Trade-Related Aspects on Intellectual Property Rights and Country Review for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in the various international fora;
• Representing the Attorney General in various National Committees, Task Forces and Advisory Bodies.

Scope of Work

The scope of work of the International Affairs Division extensively covers –

- International Trade Law,
- Bilateral and Multilateral Negotiations,
- Civil Aviations/Outer Space,
- Human Rights,
- International Humanitarian Law,
- International Organisations,
- International Banking and Finance,
- Environment Law,
- International Dispute Settlement,
- International Criminal Law,
- Maritime and Territorial Waters, and
- Military Cooperation.

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