Law of the Pacific Islands: A Guide to Web Based Resources

Editor's note: This article is an update to the Law of the Pacific Islands: A Guide to Web Based Resources, (published October 16, 2000 and April 15, 2002).


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Countries:

American Samoa; Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands; Cook Islands; Easter Island; Federated States of Micronesia; Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; Hawaii; Kiribati; Marshall Islands; Midway Is.; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Norfolk Island; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Pitcairn Is.; Samoa; Solomon Is.; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; Vanuatu; Wallis and Futuna.

3. Selected Journals

4. Academic Sites & Research Centres

5. Related Sites, not Law Specific

I. Introduction to the Guide

This Resource guide deals with internet sites providing Caselaw, Legislation and Government home pages for the Pacific Island region. There are also links to several relevant journals, and to academic sites providing dedicated Pacific Law web pages, or Centres dealing with Pacific Law.

There are several issues to be aware of when using the internet to locate Pacific law sites.

  • Many sites bundle Pacific into an area called "Asia Pacific". This often includes countries bordering the Pacific on the eastern side, but in many instances excludes most Pacific islands.
  • The internet connections to most countries in the Pacific are still fairly slow by standards in the US, Australia and Europe. It can take some time for the data to appear on the screen; patience is needed.

The countries of the Pacific Rim as well as the countries of Asia which are proximate to the Pacific are excluded from this Guide. Thus Australia and New Zealand for which there are excellent guides already on LLRX, are not included.

Locations

Most of the countries covered are marked on a very good map provided by a site called Political Resources on the Net.

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2. Alphabetical List of Countries and Sites

Background

The Pacific Islands, are scattered across a quarter of the earth's surface. Of the thirty million square kilometres, 98% is ocean, and of 7,500 islands, only 500 are inhabited.

The Pacific Islands are separated into the three sub-regions of Melanesia (West), Polynesia (South-East) and Micronesia (North), based on their ethnic, linguistic and cultural differences.

Pacific Islanders speak nearly a quarter of the world's languages, and most countries were formerly administered by several imperial powers. The political structures vary from formal colonial dependencies through to 'associated state" and to states with full political independence.

There is great diversity of culture, environment and demographic conditions, yet Island governments share a sense of common destiny, which is expressed in technical cooperation and political collaboration through several regional organisations including the South Pacific Forum, the Pacific Community, and the University of the South Pacific.

All countries in the region except Tokelau have written consititutions. Some laws of England, New Zealand, Australia, France and the United States still have application in the Pacific. To provide for independence or self-government written constitutions were enacted and stated to be the supreme law. At independence existing laws were not totally rejected. Some legislation in England (and in some cases former colonies of Australia and New Zealand) at a particular date is still in force. Common law and equity, and some legislation made by the country concerned before independence still prevails. There is an increasing tendancy to incorporate customary law and in some countries have legislated for it to be applied in court. For further information see 'Introduction to researching South Pacific Law', by Peter Murgatroyd and 'Introduction to South Pacific Law', by Jennifer Corrin Care, Tess Newton and Don Paterson (Cavendish, London 1999).

One of the largest collections of legal information for the Pacific Island Countires is held at the University of the South Pacific Law Library at the Emalus Campus in Vanuatu. With the assistance of the Australiasian Legal Information Institute, AustLII the University established the Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute, PacLII. PacLII publishes legislation, case law and other documents freely on the Internet for 20 Pacific Island Countires.

Information and online resources for individual countries

Country

Political Status / Associatied Country (where applicable)

Legislation and Case Law

Government
and Organisations

Other

American Samoa

Self-Governing Territory / United States of America

PacLII

American Samoa Bar Association

American Samoa Government

WorldLII

American Samoa Bar Association

CIA Factbook

Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands

Self-Governing Territory in Political Union / United States of America

PacLII

CNMI Judicial Branch

Supreme Court Opinions June 1996-

Superior Court Slip Opinions August 1999-

Commonwealth Constitution

US Code, Title 48, Chapter 17 - Northern Mariana Islands

Executive Branch of Government

CNMI Judicial Branch

Office of the Attorney General

Law Revision Commission

Criminal Justice Planning Agency

Office of the Public Defender

WorldLII

Cook Islands

Self Governing in free association / New Zealand

PacLII

Cook Islands Government

Audit (PERCA) Office

Development Investment Board

WorldLII

CIA Factbook

Easter Island

Self-Governing Territory / Chile

Overview

Federated States of Micronesia

Free Association / United States of America

PacLII

Legal Information System

Government

WorldLII

Republic of Fiji

Independent State

PacLII

Fiji Constitution
Fiji Constitution 1997

Government

Parliament

Office of the Attorney-General

Fiji Human Rights Commission

Fiji Law Reform Commission

Fiji Law Society

French Polynesia

Self-Governing Overseas Territory / France

Overview

Guam

Self-Governing Territory / United States of America

PacLII

Compiler of Laws

Legislature

Superior Court of Guam

Supreme Court of Guam

District Court

Office of the Attorney

Guam portal

WorldLII

Guam Law Library

General

Guam Bar Association

Hawaii

State, Self-Governing / United States of America

Government Directory and Guide

Republic of Kiribati

Independent State

PacLII

Sources of Law

Ministry of Finance and Economic Development

WorldLII

Pacific Law Journal Index

Republic of Marshall Islands

Free Association / United States of America

PacLII

Government

On the internet

Midway Island

Territory / United States of America

Overview

Republic of Nauru

Independent State

PacLII

New Caledonia

Self-Governing Overseas Territory / France

PacLII

Selected Laws

Government

Overview
General Information (at About France site and MOL Information Hotline site)

Niue

Self-Governing Free Association / New Zealand

PacLII

Government

Government

Norfolk Island

Self-Governing Territory / Australia

Overview

Republic of Palau

Free Association / United States of America

PacLII

Government

Papua New Guinea

Independent State

PacLII

Government

Prime Minister's website

Pitcairn Islands

Self-Governing Territory /
United Kingdom

PacLII

Samoa

Constitutional Monarchy

PacLII

Legislation

Parliament

Sources of Law

Solomon Islands

Independent State

PacLII

Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

Parliament

Tokelau

Self-Governing Territory / New Zealand

PacLII

Constitution

Laws

Council

Tonga

Constitutional Monarchy

PacLII

Legislation

Government

Ministry of Justice

Parliament

Tonga on the net

Tuvalu

PacLII

Government

Tuvalu Islands

Vanuatu

Independent State

PacLII

Legislation

Government

Wallis and Futana

Self-Governing Territory / France

l'Assemblée Territoriale des Iles Wallis et Futuna

The World Factbook

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3. Journals, Treaties, Conventions, Specialised Legislation

Journals

International Treaties, Conventions

Specialised Legislation

Forum Fisheries Agency
The South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) was established in 1979 under a Convention signed by 12 Forum member countries. The Convention reflects the common concern of member nations on matters of conservation, optimum utilization and coastal states sovereign rights over the region's living marine resources. Fish legislation can be found for several member countries at http://www.ffa.int/node/14.

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4. Academic Sites & Research Centres

  • To maintain an up-to-date collection of the law, law-related literature and legal information of and concerning the states and territories of the Pacific Island region.
  • To encourage the study, wider understanding and deeper knowledge of the laws of the peoples of the Pacific Islands and their region.
  • To facilitate legal research relevant to the Pacific Island region by studies carried out in and from Monash University and in cooperation with governments, courts, legal professions, institutions for legal education and training, and law-related agencies in the region.
  • To provide legal information services for Australia and the Pacific Islands region.
  • Asian Pacific Research Institute
    Ocean Studies at APRI are led by Tony Angelo who combines this with strong interests in Asia and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. He teaches Pacific Legal Studies at Victoria University of Wellington and is among other things is the Constitutional Adviser to the Government of Niue and Legal Adviser to the Government of Tokelau.
  • Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, University of Canterbury
    This New Zealand based Centre has the following mission: The mission of the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies is to promote and advance scholarship and understanding of the Pacific region, including Aotearoa New Zealand, its people, societies and cultures; histories; arts; politics; environment and resources; developments and future. The page includes a list of Pacific related publications.
  • UNSW Centre for South Pacific Studies
    Features include and Online Bibliography of Pacific Studies, the site for the Australia-Papua New Guinea Friendship Association. The Centre for South Pacific Studies was established in 1987 to collect, collate and distribute information from a diversity of disciplines, in printed and electronic form, about the peoples and places of the Pacific islands.
  • University of Waikato Pacific Law Sites
    This collection of links includes a list of primary and secondary legal material relating to Pacific Island nations which is held in major New Zealand law libraries.

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5. Related Sites -- Not Law Specific

  • The South Pacific Forum
    The South Pacific Forum represents Heads of Government of all the independent and self-governing Pacific Island countries, Australia and New Zealand. Since 1971 it has provided member nations with the opportunity to express their joint political views and to cooperate in areas of political and economic concern. Members are: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. The Forum meets each year at Head of Government level.
  • The South Pacific Community
    This is the page of the Secretariat of the South Pacific Community. An international organisation serving the Pacific region, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community is the premier technical and development organisation of the Pacific. It is the only bilingual (English/French) regional organisation covering all 22 countries and territories of the Pacific.
  • The Pacific Forum
    A collection of links which include cultural and general links. Not an official site.
  • The Agricultural Development in the American Pacific Project
    This site links to Pacific Land Grants Schools, as well as Agricultural schools in the Pacific. It provides a history of the project, and a list of Pacific Island experts.
  • The Small Island Developing States Network
    Global Communities on Island Issues such as biodiversity, climate change and sustainable tourism. The Small Island Developing States Network was initiated as a follow up to the Barbados Programme of Action from 1994. It was recognised that all islands share common issues and SIDSnet was initiated with a mandate to implement the communication segment in the implementation of the Programme.
  • Pacific Studies WWW Virtual Library
    Part of the World-Wide Web Virtual Library, provided by the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at ANU (Australian National University).
  • Oceanian Governments on the WWW
    Prepared and maintained by Gunnar Anzinger, this is a comprehensive database of governmental institutions on the World Wide Web: parliaments, ministries, offices, law courts, embassies, city councils, public broadcasting corporations, central banks, multi-governmental institutions etc. Also includes political parties and updated list of government agencies and embassies. Tabular index by country indicates number of entries and last update. Last update is December 2002.
  • Political Resources on the Web -- Australia/Oceania
    Listings of political sites available on the Internet sorted by country, with links to Parties, Organizations, Governments, Media and more from all around the world. Includes maps for each country.
  • The Open Directory Project -- Oceania
    The Open Directory Project's goal is to produce the most comprehensive directory of the web, by relying on a vast army of volunteer editors.
  • A Large Map of Oceania

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