UPDATE: Introduction to Researching South Pacific Law
By Peter Murgatroyd
Peter Murgatroyd was formerly the Law Librarian of the University of the South Pacific and Campus Librarian of the Emalus Campus of the University, located in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Peter is currently Information Resource Centre Manager at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme [SPREP], and Coordinator of the Pacific Environment Information Network [PEIN]. Prior to working at the University of the South Pacific, Peter was a library manager at two leading corporate law firms in New Zealand. Following his appointment at the University of the South Pacific in 1998, Peter developed a number of web based resources for Pacific legal research including the Pacific Law Journal Index and the Pacific Law Blog, as well as a range of topical pathfinders and research tools on Pacific law.
Peter has been invited to speak on Pacific legal research issues at Conferences in Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu and Great Britain. Peter Murgatroyd was a member of the working group that established the online Pacific Legal Information Institute [PacLII], and he continues to offer support to PacLII. He has been a Contributing Editor to WorldLII.org and a columnist for the Australian Law Librarian. He has had articles on Pacific legal resources published in the 'Australian Law Librarian,' 'Legal Information Management' and 'the Journal of Academic Librarianship.'
See the Archive Version!
Table of Contents
3.2. Case Law
4.1. Reference Materials
4.2. Periodicals (Law)
The focus of this guide will be on providing a context and resource guide for researching the following small island states of the South Pacific: the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, and Vanuatu. The scope of this research guide does not extend to the US Territories in the Pacific, the French Overseas Territories in the Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Australia, or New Zealand.
The islands of the South Pacific consist of thousands of scattered islands spread across hundreds of thousands of square miles of Ocean. The islands and people of the Pacific Islands can be divided into three distinct groupings: Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. Melanesia includes Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Fiji is considered part of Melanesia because of its location; however its culture is much more like that of Polynesia. The Melanesian islands lie south of the equator. Micronesia means ‘tiny islands’. These islands lie north of Melanesia and most of them also lie north of the equator. More than 2000 islands make up Micronesia, most of which are low-lying coral islands. Micronesia includes Guam, the Caroline Islands, the Mariana Islands, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, and the single island of Nauru. Polynesia means ‘many islands’. It occupies the largest area in the South Pacific and includes the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu. The focus of this research guide will be on the islands of Polynesia and Melanesia.
An understanding of the recent colonial and post-independence history of the islands is essential for identifying, accessing and understanding the relevant laws as they apply in each of the countries of the Pacific – in particular, which laws of England, New Zealand, Australia, France and the United States of America (USA) still have application in the Pacific.
By the late 1800s Britain, France, Germany, Spain and the USA were all competing for control of islands in the Pacific. After Spain’s defeat in the Spanish-American War of 1898, Germany and the USA took over the Spanish possessions in Micronesia. By the early 1900s Germany also held parts of Nauru, New Guinea and Samoa, and the USA controlled Hawaii and the rest of Samoa. France controlled New Caledonia and French Polynesia and shared control of the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) with Britain. Britain held Fiji, Papua, Tonga, the southern Solomons, and the Gilbert (now Kiribati) and Ellice Islands (now Tuvalu). After Germany’s defeat in World War I (1914-18), Japan received control of the German possessions in Micronesia, New Zealand took over German Samoa, and Australia took control of northeastern New Guinea.
Through all these changes of rule, the Pacific islanders themselves had little or no voice in the government.
After World War II (1939-45) the United Nations (UN) decided that four areas in the Pacific should be governed as trust territories until they were ready for independence.
British Fiji and Tonga gained their independence from the United Kingdom in 1970;the Solomon Islands in 1978; the Ellice Islands, renamed Tuvalu , also in 1978; the Gilbert Islands, which then became Kiribati , in 1979; and the New Hebrides, which Britain had administered jointly with France, in 1980.
Australia, Britain and New Zealand governed Nauru as a trust territory until 1968, when it too became independent.
New Zealand administered Western Samoa (now Samoa) until 1962 when it gained independence. The Cook Islands became self-governing in free association with New Zealand in 1965 and Niue followed in 1974. The Tokelau Islands were made a British protectorate in 1889. They were transferred to New Zealand’s administration in 1925. A referendum for independence was held in February 2006 but failed to reach the two thirds majority necessary for Tokelau to become self governing; as such, Tokelau continues to be administered by New Zealand.
The Trust Territory of New Guinea was governed by Australia until 1973. It then became part of the self-governing territory of Papua New Guinea (PNG). PNG gained full independence in 1975. The USA administered the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands, encompassing all the islands of Micronesia, with the exception of Nauru. The Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia became independent nations in free association with the USA, as did Palau, in 1994.
In order to provide for independence or full internal self-government, awritten constitution was enacted in each country of the region which was stated to be the supreme law. However, at the time of Independence, none of the countries of the region actually rejected their preexisting laws outright. Laws which remained included:
· legislation in force in England (and in some cases its former colonies of Australia and New Zealand) at a particular date, often referred to as ‘the date of application’,
· common law and equity, and
· ‘colonial’ legislation (made by the legislature of the country before independence)
In addition to the various sources of law indicated above, there is an increasing tendency to incorporate aspects of customary law as well. Legislation is in place currently in Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Kiribati and Tuvalu proposing that customary law be part of the law applied by all courts. Furthermore all countries, with the exception only of Tonga, have express provisions for customs or customary law to be used as the basis for determining rights to customary land. Much of what constitutes customary law is, however, not recorded in a written form but is passed on orally by Chiefs.
To summarize, all countries in the region have several different kinds of laws deriving from several different sources:
· a written constitution (stated to be the supreme law)
· written legislation enacted by the legislature of the country either during the period of dependency, or since independence or self-governance, and subsidiary legislation authorized by that legislation,
· written legislation enacted by the legislature of the former colonial power and applied to, or adopted by, the dependent country, and subsidiary legislation authorized by that legislation,
· written and unwritten rules of custom and customary law, and
· unwritten rules of common law and equity
Sources of law for each of the countries of the region can be browsed from the Emalus Campus Library of the University of the South Pacific’s ‘Pacific Law Collection’ website.
All the countries of the region have a written constitution, except Tokelau, and all of these written constitutions are stated to be the supreme law in their respective countries. The written constitution of most countries in the region is to be found in the first volume of the revised laws of the country. Usually it appears as the first law in the first volume. In the revised laws of Samoa, however, the written constitution appears in the first volume but in strict alphabetical order under the letter “C,” and the constitution of Nauru is found in the collection of laws, 1965-1972, amongst the laws enacted for 1968, about halfway through the volume.
The Constitutions are freely available online via the Pacific Legal Information Institute website located at the Emalus Campus of the University of the South Pacific in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
The Constitutions of the following 12 countries: Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu are also gathered together in ‘Selected Constitutions of the South Pacific’/ Don Paterson, editor. Suva, Fiji: IJALS & USP, 2000 (the Fiji Constitution was omitted due to political instability and uncertainty in Fiji at the time of publication).
The systems of government adopted by the island states of the south pacific largely resemble the forms of government in place within the former colonial powers in the Pacific. Countries formerly associated with Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand now have parliamentary systems. Kiribati elects from parliament a head of the executive who is also the head of state. In Tonga, the King of Tonga is the Head of State. Some former Commonwealth countries retained the British monarch as head of state, represented by a governor-general appointed by the Queen on the advice of the executive.
Pacific Island legislatures are based on universal suffrage, however in Samoa only chiefs may be elected to parliament. In parliamentary systems in the region, executive power is held by a cabinet, derived from and responsible to the legislature. Legislative elections are held throughout the Pacific Islands.
A brief overview of the government and legislative structures for each of the countries of the region can be viewed online from the PacLII website.
During the colonial period, court systems were introduced along with laws. These systems have remained in place throughout the region. The regional model is hierarchical and typically consists of three levels: inferior courts, a superior court, and an appeal court, with the superior court having supervisory jurisdiction over the inferior courts. Outside of this formal hierarchy, customary tribunals and courts often exist at the village level. These customary courts and tribunals commonly do not have any formal legal recognition but are based on respect of customary authority.
* Not available from PacLII. Following a military coup in 2006, Fiji remains politically unstable. A civilian-led coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. Qarase was reelected in May 2006, but was ousted in a December 2006 military coup led by Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, who initially appointed himself acting president. In January 2007, Bainimarama was appointed interim prime minister.
Further analysis and commentary can be found in the following publications:
Corrin Care, Jennifer &
Introduction to South Pacific Law 2nd ed./ Jennifer Corrin Care and Don Paterson. London, [England] : Cavendish Publishing, 2007.
Pacific courts and legal systems / editors, Guy Powles and Mere Pulea Pacific courts and justice . [Suva, Fiji] : University of the South Pacific in association with the Faculty of Law, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, 1988
South Pacific Islands legal
systems / Michael A. Ntumy, general editor. Honolulu [Hawaii] : University of
Hawaii Press, 1993.
The following texts have been selected by Professor Guy Powles of Monash University and Peter Murgatroyd, former Law Librarian at the University of the South Pacific, as particularly useful for gaining a fuller understanding of the historical and socio-cultural contexts of law in the South Pacific:
A kind of mending: restorative justice in the Pacific Islands / Sinclair Dinnen, Anita Jowitt and Tess Newton Cain (eds.), Pandanus , 2003
Blood on their banner: nationalist struggles in the South Pacific / David Robie, Zed Books, 1989.
Chiefs Today: Traditional Pacific Leadership and the Post-Colonial State / G. White & L. Lindstrom eds, Stanford, 1997
Class and Culture in the South Pacific / A.Hooper & ors eds, USP, Suva, 1987
Collective Human Rights of Pacific Peoples / Nin Tomas ed, NZHRC, 1998
Confronting Fiji Futures / Akram-Lodhi Haroon A (ed) Australian National University, Canberra, 2000
Culture and Sustainable Development in the Pacific / A. Hooper ed, ANU, 2000
Custom and the Law / Paul de Deckker abd Jean-Yves Faberon eds., Asia Pacific Press, 2001
Custom at the Crossroads / J. Aleck & J. Rannells eds, UPNG Law, 1995
Customary Land Tenure and Sustainable Development: Complementarity or Conflict? / R. Crocombe & ors eds, USP, 1995
Developing Cultural Criminology: Theory and practice in Papua New Guinea Banks / Cindi (ed) Sydney Institute of Criminology Monograph Series No.13, Sydney, 2000
Fiji and the World / B. Lal and T. Vakatora eds, USP, 1997
Fiji in Transition / B. Lal and T. Vakatora eds, USP, 1997
From Election to Coup in Fiji: the 2006 Campaign and its Aftermath / Jon Fraenkel and Stewart Firth. IPS Publications, 2007.
Globalization and culture change in the Pacific Islands, Victoria S. Lockwood ed., Prentice Hall, 2004
Governance and Reform in the South Pacific / P. Lamour ed, ANU, 1998
Governance in Samoa / E. Hueffer & A. So’o eds, ANU, 2000
Heads of State in the South Pacific / Y.Ghai & J.Cottrell eds, USP, Suva, 1990
Introduction to South Pacific Law 2nd ed./ Jennifer Corrin Care and Don Paterson eds, Cavendish, 2007
Land, Custom and Practice in the South Pacific / R.G.Ward & E.Kingdon,eds Cambridge, 1995
Land Issues in the Pacific / R. Crocombe & and M. Meleisea eds, USP, 1994
Land Tenure in the Atolls / R.Crocombe,ed IPS, USP, 1987
Land Tenure in the Pacific 3rd ed R.Crocombe,ed IPS, USP, 1987
Law, Government and Politics in Pacific Island States / Y.Ghai ed, USP, Suva, 1988
LAWASIA Conference Proceedings: Prospects for Human Rights in South Pacific / LAWASIA, 1985
Leadership in the Pacific islands: tradition and future / Donald R; Lamour, Peter and Von strokirch, Karin (eds) National Centre for Development Studies, RSPAS, ANU, Canberra, 1998
Legal Pluralism / P. Sack & E. Minchin eds, ANU, 1986
Lo Bilong Yumi Yet: Law and Custom in Melanesia / Bernard Narokobi ed, USP, 1989
Making Land Work Volume one: Reconciling customary land and development in the Pacific. Commonwealth of Australia, 2008
Making Land Work Volume two: Case studies on customary land and development in the Pacific. Commonwealth of Australia, 2008.
The Manipulation of Custom: from uprising to intervention in the Solomon Islands / Jon Fraenkel. Victoria University Press, 2004.
Melanesia: Beyond Diversity Vols I & II / R.May & H.Nelson eds ANU, 1983
New Politics in the South Pacific / W. von Busch & ors eds, USP, Suva, 1994
Oceans in the new millenium : challenges and opportunities for the islands. PIM XXVII proceedings, November 8th-12th November 1999 - 'Pacem Maribus XXV!!'
Pacific Constitutions / P. Sack ed, ANU, 1982
Pacific Courts and Legal Systems / G.Powles & M.Pulea eds, USP, Suva, 1988
Passage of change : law, society and governance in the Pacific / edited by Anita Jowitt and Dr Tess Newton, Pandanus , 2003
Public Administration and Management in small states: Pacific Experience / Yash, Ghai (ed) IPS, USP, Suva 1990
Reconciling customary law and received law in Melanesia: the post-independence experience in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu / Kenneth Brown. Darwin, NT : Charles Darwin University Press, 2005.
Reflections on Violence in Melanesia / S. Dinnen & A. Ley eds, ANU, 2000
Resources, Development and politics in the Pacific Islands / S.Henningham & R.May eds Crawford House, 1992
Rule of law, legitimate governance & development in the Pacific / Iutisone Salevoa. Canberra: ANU Press, 2005.
Sources of Law in the South Pacific Region / Jennifer Corrin Care ed. The Journal of Pacific Studies Volume 21, 1997.
South Pacific Land Tenure Conflict
Proceedings and papers delivered at the South Pacific Land Tenure Conflict Symposium 10-12 April 2002.
South Pacific Foreign Affairs Handbook / S.Hoadly, Allen & Unwin, 1992
South Pacific Islands Legal Systems / M.Ntumy, ed, Uni of Hawaii Press, 1993;
Tides of History: the Pacific Islands in the 20th Century / K.Howe & ors eds, Allens, 1994;
Transactions and creations : property debates and the stimulus of Melanesia / edited by Eric Hirsch and Marilyn Strathern. Oxford : Berghann Books , 2005.
Tu Galala: Social Change in the Pacific / D.Robie ed Wellington, 1992
*‘Occasional’ Series, ‘Working’ Papers, Annual Reports, Conference Papers, Yearbooks and Workshop Proceedings are also rich sources of material and should not be overlooked. Of particular note are the regional political summaries in the Asia-Pacific Constitutional Yearbook and also those published in Contemporary Pacific.
The largest repository of primary materials for the South Pacific is the Emalus Campus Library of the University of the South Pacific, located in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Requests for copies of materials can be made via the Emalus Library website.
Full holdings of the Emalus Campus Library can be browsed online, as can indices to consolidations of laws for the region and indices to published law report series of the region.
The University of the South Pacific’s Laucala Campus Library Pacific Collection, located in Suva, Fiji, also has a significant hardcopy collection of Pacific primary legal materials and associated historical documentation. The Western Pacific Archives, located in Auckland University Library (New Zealand), are also a rich source of primary historical materials relating to the administration of the Western Pacific from 1877-1978.
The largest online repository of primary materials for the South Pacific is PacLII. PacLII is also located on the Emalus Campus of the University of the South Pacific.
of the countries in the Pacific Islands region have published consolidations of
Cook Islands Laws (1994)
Laws of Fiji (1985)
Laws of the Gilbert & Ellice Islands (1973)
Laws of Kiribati (1980)
Marshall Islands (2004)
Laws of Nauru (1966)
Niue Laws (2006)
Papua New Guinea (1982 loose-leaf; Selected Laws of Papua New Guinea, 2000)
The Laws of the Solomon Islands (1997)
Tokelau Laws (1997) & (2004)
The Laws of Tonga (1988 rev. ed.)
Laws of Tuvalu (1984)
The Laws of the Republic of Vanuatu (1988)
[Western] Samoa Statutes Reprint (1920-1977) & (1978-1996)
A number of countries in the region are beginning to publish their legislation online from government websites:
The following South Pacific law reports series have been published. It should be noted that publication of the various reports is often sporadic. Although the publication of the various reports is continuing, there can be lengthy gaps between volumes. Indices to these volumes can be browsed from PacLII (follow the links below)
Also of note:
The PacLII website is the most complete repository of Pacific materials on the Internet. PacLII contains collections of legislation and judgments from around the Pacific. It is also the home of the Journal of South Pacific Law, detailed historical and constitutional notes discussing sources of law for the region, and provides access to the hardcopy law collection of the Emalus Campus Library.
PacLII also maintains a chart detailing the procedural Rules of Court that apply across the region. Another excellent new addition to the PacLII site is the link to International Treaties & Agreements, etc. in the South Pacific; see Pacific Islands Treaty Series.
Pacific law bibliography / compiled by Jacqueline D. Elliott 2nd ed. Hobart, Tas. : Pacific Law Press, 1990
Encyclopedias and Yearbooks:
The Pacific Islands : an encyclopedia / edited by Brij V. Lal and Kate Fortune. Honolulu, Hawaii : University of Hawai'i Press, 2000.
Pacific Islands Yearbook / edited by Norman & Ngaire Douglas 17th ed. Suva, Fiji : Fiji Times Ltd., 1994 Location: REF 990 Pac. 1994
The Far East and Australasia Yearbook. London [England] : Europa Publications.
Pacific Law Journal Index
The 'Pacific Law Journal Index', developed by Peter Murgatroyd, the former Law librarian at the University of the South Pacific, consolidates article references identified in Jacqui Elliot's 'Pacific Law Bibliography' 2ed., 'Wilsons Index to Legal Periodicals Online', the University of Hawaii's 'Pacific Journals Index' and 'Agis Plus Text online' into one easily searchable online index. The Pacific Law Journal Index is an absolutely essential access point for journal articles on Pacific law.
The following countries are covered in the index:
foremost periodicals examining legal issues in the south pacific are the Journal of South Pacific Law, published by
the School of the Law of the University of the South Pacific, and the Melanesian Law Journal published by the
University of Papua New Guinea. Both periodicals are available online via PacLII.
Other journals that give particularly good coverage of Pacific legal issues include:
The University of Hawai'i maintains an excellent index of Pacific journals held in its collection which is freely available over the Internet. This is an essential access point for journal articles on the Pacific.
Hawai'i Pacific Journal Index
A highly recommended searchable index (author, title, keyword) of Pacific journals held by the University of Hawaii, and an essential access point for journal articles on the Pacific.
Journals of particular interest include the following:
* Of particular note in Contemporary Pacific are the regional legal / political summaries that are included yearly.
The big seven : human rights conventions and judicial declarations / Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team. Suva, Fiji : Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team, 2005
Civil procedure and courts in the South Pacific / Jennifer Corrin Care. 2nd ed. London: Cavendish, 2004.
Collective human rights of Pacific peoples / conference organising committee, Ngapere Hopa ... [et al.] ; editor, Nin Tomas. [Auckland, N.Z.] : University of Auckland, .
Commercial law and practice in the South Pacific / Mohammed Ahmadu & Robert Hughes. London: Cavendish, 2006.
Company law in the South Pacific / Robert Hughes and Mohammed L. Ahmadu. Suva, Fiji : Institute of Justice and Applied Legal Studies, University of the South Pacific, 2001.
Converging currents : custom and human rights in the Pacific. (Study paper; 17). Wellington, NZ : New Zealand Law Commission, 2006
Custom and the law / Paul de Deckker and Jean-Yves Faberon (editors). ANU, Canberra : Asia Pacific Press, 2001.
Essays and documents on human rights in the Pacific. (Victoria University at Wellington Law library / Monograph; no.4) Wellington, N.Z. : Victoria University Press, 1992.
Essential principles of contract and sales law in the Northern Pacific : Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and the Marshall Islands, and the United States Territories / Daniel P. Ryan. Lincoln, NE [USA IUniverse, 2005.
External trade and investment law : an introductory guide / Mohammed L. Ahmadu. Suva, Fiji: IJALS, 2001.
Fiji income tax law / Peter N. Fulcher. (Laws of the South Pacific series). Suva, Fiji : Institute of Justice and Applied Legal Studies, University of the South Pacific, 1999.
Guidelines for developing national legislation for the protection of traditional knowledge and expressions of culture based on the Pacific Model Law 2. Noumea : Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 2006
International law issues in the South Pacific / edited by Geoff Leane and Barbara Von Tigerstrom. Aldershot, England : Ashgate, 2005
Introduction to South Pacific Law / Jennifer Corrin Care, Tess Newton and Don Paterson. London, [England] : Cavendish Publishing, 1999.
A kind of mending : restorative justice in the Pacific Islands / Edited by Sinclair Dinnen, Anita Jowitt and Tess Newton Cain. Canberra : Pandanus Books, 2003.
Law for Pacific women : a legal rights handbook / P. Imrana Jalal. Suva, Fiji : Fiji Women's Rights Movement, 1998
The law of banking in Fiji : a practical guide / by Mohammed L. Ahmadu. London : Avon Books, 1998
Lo bilong yumi yet = Law and custom in Melanesia / Bernard Narokobi; editors, Ron Crocombe, John May and Paul Roche. Goroka, PNG : Melanesian Institute for Pastoral and socio-Economic Service; [Suva, Fiji]: USP, 1989.
Pacific Constitutions: proceedings of the Canberra Law Workshop VI. / Peter Sacks editor. Canberra Australian National University 1982
Pacific courts and legal systems / editors, Guy Powles and Mere Pulea. [Suva, Fiji] : University of the South Pacific in association Monash University, 1988.
Passage of change : law, society and governance in the Pacific / edited by Anita Jowitt and Dr Tess Newton. Canberra : Pandanus Books, 2003.
Proving customary law in the common law Courts of the South Pacific / Jean Zorn and Jennifer Corrin Care. London : British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 2002.
Selected constitutions of the South Pacific / Don Paterson, editor. Suva, Fiji : IJALS & USP, 2000.
Sources of law in the South Pacific / edited by Jennifer Corrin Care. [This issue published as vol. 21 of 1997 of the Journal of Pacific Studies. Copy 3 held in permanent reserve collection. See web link for details of contents.] Suva, Fiji School of Social and Economic Development, USP 1997.
South Pacific Handbook of Treaties and other legal instruments in the field on environmental law. (UNEP/SPREP Publication series on Environmental Law and Policy ; no. 1). Apia, Nairobi : SPREP, UNEP, 1998.
South Pacific Islands legal systems / Michael A. Ntumy, general editor. Honolulu [Hawaii] : University of Hawaii Press, 1993.
South Pacific property law / Susan Farran & Don Paterson. London : Cavendish, 2004.
Succession Law in the South Pacific / Robert A. Hughes. Suva, Fiji : Institute of Justice and Applied Legal Studies, University of the South Pacific, 1999.
Trust law in the South Pacific / Robert A. Hughes. Suva, Fiji : Institute of Justice and Applied Legal Studies, The University of the South Pacific.
PacLII: The Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute (PacLII) provides free internet access to legislation and case law for jurisdictions in the South Pacific. Islands covered by the service include American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. A site search form allows specific database selection and query with Boolean functionality. The service includes links to other legal materials for the South Pacific jurisdictions, including treaties and conventions, journals, and legal associations. PacLII is an initiative developed by the University of the South Pacific School of Law in cooperation with the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII).
The PacLII databases contain primary materials – legislation, case law, and treaties – obtained from countries in the South Pacific by PacLII. Editing and preparation of most material for publication is done by PacLII staff. Further mark-up processing, database structure, search engine facilities, and some other aspects of technical infrastructure are provided by AustLII. The South Pacific parts of the WorldLII index are jointly prepared by PacLII and AustLII. The overall PacLII facility is managed jointly by USP School of Law.
‘Pacific Law Links’ -- maintained by the PacLII, team contains links to Pacific governmental websites, Pacific Parliamentary websites, Pacific law journals, Pacific Bar Associations and other Pacific legal websites
A full listing of Pacific law sites was also compiled by the former Law Librarian at the University of the South Pacific, Peter Murgatroyd. This annotated list can be browsed from the Emalus Campus website and also from the WorldLII online catalogue. The WorldLii online catalogue for the Pacific Islands is able to be browsed thematically as well as by jurisdiction. All internet resources noted on the catalogue have been catalogued and are able to be searched via keyword.
The Pacific Islands Treaty Series, otherwise known as "PITS," aims to be a comprehensive treaty database for the Pacific Islands region, publishing bilateral and multilateral treaties which Pacific Island states have entered into amongst themselves, as well as with nations and organizations external to the region.
In addition, some treaties are included in the PITS database if they are relevant to the Pacific Island states and territories which are the focus of the PITS site, even if they do not have any Pacific Island state parties. The PITS database focuses on 20 countries and territories in the Pacific.
Pacific Judicial Development Program:
Website of the PacLII Pacific Judicial Development Program (PJDP), the aim of which is to “enhance the competence of judicial and court officers and improve the systems and processes they use.” The project focuses on the following Pacific Island countries: Federated States of Micronesia; Cook Islands; Fiji; Kiribati; Marshall Islands; Nauru; Niue; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Samoa; Solomon Islands; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The site has information on the work and activities of the PJDP covering access to justice, governance, systems and processes, and professional development. The PJDP also publishes bench books which can be downloaded from the site, which give guidance on legislation, jurisprudence, and process. A newsletter detailing the work of the Development Program can also be downloaded from the site; there are links to the legal materials provided on PacLII for each jurisdiction. PacLII is managed as a joint operation between the University of the South Pacific School of Law, and by the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII).
PacLII users can subscribe to a monthly e-newsletter that provides updates about PacLII's activities, new elements on the website, and a full list of documents that have been recently uploaded. In order to subscribe to this newsletter, please send your name, country, and email address through their Feedback Form.
A directory of South Pacific Islands Law Societies and Bar Associations is maintained on PacLII.
The University of the South Pacific School of Law offers both undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in law. The USP law programme is taught from the Emalus Campus of the University of the South Pacific and is available in face-to-face mode as well as via online distance delivery.
The University Of Papua New Guinea School Of Law offers both undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in law.
The Emalus Campus Library of the University of the South Pacific is the largest repository of pacific legal materials in the region, and provides a document delivery service for materials from its extensive collection.
Pacific law texts are available from the University of the South Pacific bookshop. The catalogue is available online and orders can be made via the internet.
South Pacific Books in Auckland, New Zealand is also an excellent source of pacific law texts and materials:
The Pacific Law Blog is a regularly updated list of links to the latest news and developments in the region, and also provides details of recently published texts and periodical articles.
Pacific courts and legal systems / editors, Guy Powles and Mere Pulea Pacific courts and justice . [Suva, Fiji] : University of the South Pacific in association with the Faculty of Law, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, 1988