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

By Ruth Bird, Anna Matich and Dianne Thompson, Published on July 31, 2008

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.

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

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5. Related Sites -- Not Law Specific

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