JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL (JAG) OFFICE, COMMANDER RBAF SECRETARIAT OFFICE
COLONEL NORSURIATI BINTI HAJI SHARBINI
Head of Judge Advocate General
Colonel Norsuriati binti Haji Sharbini spent her early years of military training as a recruit in the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) in 2001 after which she joined the first female cohort from Brunei Darussalam to undergo the fully integrated Officer’s Commissioning Course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS), United Kingdom and commissioned in December 2002. Colonel Norsuriati holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the University of Wales, United Kingdom and was called to the Bar of England and Wales (Gray’s Inn) in 2006. In 2014, Colonel Norsuriati received her Masters in International Security (Distinction) from Massey University, New Zealand.
Colonel Norsuriati is presently the Head of Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Office and serves as the Principal Legal Advisor to the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and the Ministry of Defence on all matters pertaining to law. With a career that has spanned over 20 years in the RBAF, she is a recognised pioneer in the field of military law in RBAF and Brunei Darussalam. In May 2021, Colonel Norsuriati was conferred her Colonel-rank insignia by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam. Colonel Norsuriati’s achievement is regarded as a landmark in the history of RBAF’s 60th years of establishment at the time as she becomes the first female to have ever been promoted to such rank.
As the nation’s Principal Legal Advisor and Expert on Operational Law matters, Colonel Norsuriati is intrinsically involved in numerous military operations, engagements and exercises be it at national, bilateral and regional scale in a myriad of capacities as Writer, Planner, Advisor and Coordinator. By virtue of her position, Colonel Norsuriati has had extensive involvements in RBAF’s legislative changes, policy formulations and invariably instrumental in the transformation of the RBAF Military Justice System throughout her two decades of service in the RBAF.
Colonel Norsuriati has further distinguished herself as a key leader and advocate of women’s involvement in professional leadership positions in Brunei. She is the national representative of the ASEAN Women for Peace Registry (AWPR) which gives her the added privilege and responsibility of advocating for gender-mainstreaming initiatives. To that end, she has also represented Brunei, the Ministry of Defence and RBAF in various meetings, workshops and talks regionally and internationally.
Upon completion of her commissioning course at RMAS, Colonel Norsuriati was subsequently awarded the prestigious awards of HRH Prince Said Abdullah Prize, The Nigeria Prize and The Brunei Medal in recognition of her excellence throughout training. Throughout her professional career, Colonel Norsuriati has further been the recipient of various awards which included Distinction for her Masters in International Security Programme during Command and Staff Course (CSC) from Massey University, New Zealand and RBAF Commendation Award. She topped her cohort in the Executive Development Programme (EDP) run by Lee Kuan Yew University, Singapore and was equally awarded the OBOE Endeavour Award from Australian Defence Force in recognition of her Academic Excellence, amongst others.
In her spare time, Colonel Norsuriati enjoys the great outdoors being an avid hiker and all things fitness-related, as well as keeping abreast with the current global geopolitical and security-related issues. She is married to Lieutenant Colonel Amirul Adly bin Haji Ali, and blessed with two maverick children and feline companions whom she considers as her constant source of joy and amusement. She is also an adventurous food aficionado and a self-proclaimed food critic.
Formally established on the 3rd March 2003, Judge Advocate General’s Office began its journey in the Royal Brunei Armed Forces as a small unit formerly known as the ‘Military Legal Unit’ (MLU) under the purview of the Directorate of Personnel. On 1 January 2021, as part of the review of its structure, JAG was effectively transferred under the Commander RBAF Secretariat Office.
As the principal legal advisor to the RBAF and Ministry of Defence, JAG plays a crucial role in providing guidance and legal advice in relation to discipline, administration, operation, training and policy to all RBAF Commanders and command holders as to allow them to make just and rational decisions and actions based on the Principles of Justice and due process in accordance with RBAF and National Laws.
JAG currently comprises 4 main divisions: Prosecution, Operations, Policy & Legislation, and General Advisory. Whilst JAG as a whole, acts as the principal legal advisor to the RBAF and the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) on all matters pertaining to law, each of these 4 divisions has distinct legal roles and responsibilities in the overall execution of JAG’s functions. JAG is also the national legal Subject Matter Expert (SME) on Operational Law and Military Disciplinary Law matters.
To provide timely, accurate and practical legal advice and assistance to the chain of command
Principal legal adviser to the Commander of RBAF and the Chain of Command on All Matters Pertaining to Law
ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
- Ensures Rule of Law is upheld in Military Justice System
- Main adviser on legal matters pertaining to offences, disciplinary matters & civil breaches
- Rendering advice throughout an Investigation Process (close working relations with the special Investigations Branch, Military Police RBAF)
- Military Detention Matters
- Sole provider of Summary Dealing and Court Martial Courses
- Responsible for rendering legal training/briefings throughout RBAF on disciplinary law (IOTC, ISC, PROMEX, CO Coy, CSC)
- Ensures the legality and legitimacy of RBAF operations (use of force)
- Involves in joint-planning process for operations at JFHQ and Units level
- Involves in ROE formulation and guidance cards
- Involves in all RBAF & National and Multi-National Exercises
- Provide in-house training/courses on matters related to operational law
Policy & Legislation
* Policy: Ensuring RBAF policies are in line with the national stance
- JPKN Committee
- Workplace Harassment
- Manning & Record Instructions
- Pay Manual
- Training Safety Regulations
- Manual of Security
* Legislation: Review primary act and promulgation of subsidiary legislations
- Amendment of RBAF Act
- Promulgation of RBAF (Board of Inquiry) Rules
- Promulgation of RBAF Rules of Procedure and RBAF (Imprisonment & Detention) Rules
- Promulgation of RBAF (Summary Jurisdiction) Regulations
- Amendment of RBAF Rules of Procedure
- Promulgation of RBAF Regulations
- Amendment of RBAF (Pensions) Regulations
- Amendment of RBAF (Summary Jurisdiction) Regulations
- Comments on the amendment to Visiting Forces Act
* General advisor on a wide range of legal issues including:
- Contract/Agreement Review
- Contractual breaches
- Direct Engagement with Services
- Engagement with other Government Agencies (i.e. AGC, RBPF, BSP, BSM)
- Acquisition of Assets
- Civil and Syariah Matters within RBAF – personnel private legal issues, probono
- ASEAN Women for Peace Registry (AWPR) – Head JAG appointed as National Representative of AWPR
- AG serves as Training Providers within and outside RBAF
- Externally, JAG provides training packages for EDPMMO & SGO
- Internally, JAG provides Summary Dealing, President & Members Courses, RBAF Act, Military Law Operations Courses
RBAF COURT MARTIAL CENTRE
The RBAF Court Martial Centre was officially opened on 31 December 2004 and stands equivalent to a High Court. JAG is responsible for the entire administrative process of convening Court Martial trials from commencement to conclusion as well providing legal training to presiding President and Members who are appointed upon convening. Whilst the Military Justice System in itself is distinct and unique in nature, RBAF Court Martial trials remain adherent to Brunei Darussalam Evidence Law and may refer to case precedents in national courts when trying like or similar cases.