Lauaki Jason Annandale has been appointed Solicitor General of the Cook Islands to head the Crown Law Office and be the principal legal advisor to the Government of the Cook Islands.
The recommendation was made to Cabinet by Prime Minister Mark Brown in his capacity as Attorney General.
“As both Prime Minister and Attorney General I have great confidence in our new Solicitor General Lauaki Annandale to deliver on his responsibilities..
“His role as the primary legal adviser to all branches of Government is critical in our pursuit of a prosperous and safe future for all Cook Islanders”.
Lauaki moved to the Cook Islands last year to take up the post of Deputy Solicitor General and has been serving as acting Solicitor General since November, after the departure of former Solicitor General, Graham Leung.
A lawyer with more than 15 years of legal experience, as well as a decade spent as a diplomat with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Annandale also has historical family ties to the Cook Islands and says he is very keen to explore those links.
“I am grateful and honoured to be appointed Solicitor General,” said Annandale. “It will be a privilege to serve the Government, people and community of my forefathers in this capacity.”
Annandale brings a vast range of practical legal and governance experience to the position of Solicitor General, including his work as a barrister and solicitor, principal of his own law firm and legal consultant, in addition to his diplomatic service in several different international jurisdictions.
He also holds numerous academic qualifications – in law, business, and engineering. He is an advocate of ongoing education, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Taxation Studies and a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) qualification.
Annandale was recently admitted to the Bar as a barrister and solicitor of the Cook Islands and has a sound understanding of the country’s legal history, combined with an appreciation for Cook Islands culture and the context within which the Solicitor General is required to perform.
During his short tenure as acting Solicitor General, Annandale has already identified areas that require further strengthening within the Crown Law office, particularly with regard to governance and human resource management. He has a clear vision and strategies in mind to address these challenges.
Highly recommended both professionally and personally by several high-ranking international legal officials, Annandale was appointed to the post of Solicitor General following a rigorous recruitment process led by Public Service Commissioner Carl Hunter.
This process followed standard procedures, including advertising of the post, candidate vetting, short-listing and interviews, culminating in a unanimous decision from the selection panel, who then made their recommendation to the Attorney General, Prime Minister Brown.
With the approval of Cabinet, this recommendation was then passed on to King’s Representative Sir Tom Marsters, advising that Annandale be appointed Solicitor General.
Sources: Cook Island Government Press Release.