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

By Ruth Bird, Published on April 15, 2002

Ruth Bird is Firm Legal Information Manager at the law firm Phillips Fox. Prior to joining this firm, she was Law Librarian at the University of Melbourne Law School. She presented a paper on Australian Legal Systems and Research at the FCIL meeting held at AALL in Washington D.C. in 1999, and co-presented a paper on Accessing Asian materials at IALL in Melbourne. She has also written various articles over the years for the Australian Law Librarian, and contributed to the Legal Division Quarterly of the SLA. Prior to joining the University in 1996, Ruth was at the Australian law firm, Arthur Robinson & Hedderwicks.

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).  There are additions, changes for some Web site addresses, as well as some deletions.  These additions and changes are indicated by        (yellow background color) for easy identification.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Countries:
American Samoa; Cook Islands; Coral Sea Islands; Easter Island; Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; Hawaii; Kiribati; Marshall Islands; Micronesia; Midway Is.; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Norfolk Island; Northern Mariana Is.; 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.

  • Companies and institutions on the Western seaboard of the US often include Pacific in the geographic description of their location (eg, Pacific NorthWest), which creates some false trails in search results.

For the purposes of this Guide, I have excluded the countries of the Pacific Rim as well as the countries of Asia which are proximate to the Pacific. 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.

The University of the South Pacific has established PacLII - Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute - is a prototype system produced from data developed and published by the University of the South Pacific School of Law with assistance from the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII). This may provide a speedier point of access.

Pacific Island Group Political Status Associated Country (where applicable)
American Samoa

Overview
Judgments (very few)
PacLII
Self-Governing Territory United States of America
Cook Islands

Overview
Government
Judgments (very few) Pac:LII
Self Governing in free association New Zealand
Coral Sea Islands

Overview
Territory Australia
Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

Overview
Self-Governing Territory Chile
Republic of Fiji

Overview
Judgments -- While the majority are from 1997 or 1998 onwards, some early judgments are included.
Also on Austlii and PacLII
Legislation -- Major acts are included
Human Rights -- UNDP site
Government (official)
Independent State
French Polynesia

Overview
Self-Governing Overseas Territory France
Guam

Overview
Government -- Official
Self-Governing Territory United States of America
Hawaii

Government
State -- Self-Governing United States of America
Republic of Kiribati

Overview
Judgments
Also on PacLII
Sources of Law
Legislation
Independent State
Republic of Marshall Islands

Overview
Judgments
Also on PacLII
Legislation
Government (from the US Embassy)
Free Association United States
Federated States of Micronesia

Overview
Judgments
Also on PacLII
State Society & Governance in Melanesia Project
Government
Free Association United States
Midway Islands

Overview
Territory United States
Republic of Nauru

Overview
Judgments (very few)
Also on PacLII
Legislation
Independent State
New Caledonia

Overview
General Information (at About France site and MOL Information Hotline site)
Government
Selected Laws
Self-Governing Overseas Territory France
Niue

Overview
Legislation
Self-Governing Free Association New Zealand
Norfolk Island

Overview
Self-Governing Territory Australia
Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands

Overview
Legislation
Self-Governing Territory in Political Union United States of America
Republic of Palau

Overview
Associated State United States - relationship not finalised
Independent State of Papua New Guinea

Overview
Legislation
Judgments
Independent State
Pitcairn Islands

Overview
Self-Governing Territory United Kingdom
Independent State of Samoa (Formerly Western Samoa)

Overview
Judgments, including indexes to Western Samoa Law Reports
Also on PacLII
Legislation
Government
Sources of Law
Constitutional Monarchy
Sovereign State of Solomon Islands

Overview
Judgments
Government
Independent State
Tokelau

Overview
Legislation
Government
Self-Governing Territory New Zealand

Kingdom of Tonga

Overview
Judgments
Also on PacLII
Legislation
Government

Constitutional Monarchy
Sovereign State of Tuvalu

Overview
Legislation
Government
Independent State
Republic of Vanuatu

Overview
Judgments
Judgments on Austlii and PacLII
Legislation
Government
Sources of Law
Independent State
Wallis and Futuna

Overview
Self-Governing Territory France

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3. Journals, Treaties, Conventions, Specialised Legislation

Journals

International Treaties, Conventions

Specialised Legislation

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4. Academic Sites & Research Centres

  • University of the South Pacific School of Law
    The School of Law has commenced collecting and publishing online a range of recent judgments and legislation from countries in the South Pacific region. Legislation is listed in chronological order or in numerical order of chapter and act numbers, as applicable.

    The judgments currently available are listed in chronological order and are divided by jurisdiction (Civil, Criminal, Land, Matrimonial) and according to whether they were heard in the Principal Court or a Court of Appeal.

    Includes Pacific Law Materials (judgments from Pacific Island countries including Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Samoa), and the electronic Journal of South Pacific Law.

  • The Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS)
    This centre is at ANU (Australian National University, Canberra) and is regarded as a pre-eminent centre for research and postgraduate training on the Asia-Pacific region. Associated with this centre is The Centre for the Contemporary Pacific.

  • Centre for Asian and Pacific Law (CAPLUS), University of Sydney
    Based at the University of Sydney, the aims of the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law include promoting knowledge in and understanding of the laws, legal systems, constitutions, legal culture and business laws of the countries of Asia and the Pacific. There is a greater emphasis on Asia than on the Pacific.

  • Centre for Asia/Pacific Law and Business (CAPLAB)
    This Centre provides and coordinates Asia/Pacific business and law teaching and research in the Faculty of Commerce and Administration, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ.

  • The Asia Pacific Intellectual Property Law Institute, Murdoch University
    This Institute was established in 1995 as a regional focus for research, teaching, training and advice on intellectual property law and policy and on the national, regional and global protection of intellectual property rights. It brings together some of the finest scholars and practitioners in the intellectual property field in the Asia Pacific region.

  • Monash University Law Library Pacific Law Resource Unit
    Objectives of the Unit are:

    • 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
    Pacific 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.

  • South Pacific Information Network
    Centre for Corporate Change, Australian Graduate School of Management hosts this email network; much of the information relates to history of the region.

  • 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 2000.

  • 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.

  • Global Legal Information Network -- entries under specific countries
    The Law Library of Congress site, with links to Constitutions, where available, legislation, cases and research guides.

  • 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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