IDEAL FOR INTERNATIONAL LAWYERS: A UNIQUE AND CAREFULLY RESEARCHED OVERVIEW OF SOUTH PACIFIC LAW
An appreciation Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE of “The Barrister”
This book is apparently unique – the only book of its kind -- and therefore quite a find for international lawyers, especially those involved with work relating to the countries of the South Pacific. Notice that they are called ‘countries’ rather than ‘islands’ by the authors, Professors Jennifer Corrin and Don Paterson who (in addition to their other impressive credentials), teach respectively, at the University of Queensland and the University of the South Pacific.
Published by the academic publisher Intersentia, based in Cambridge, Antwerp and Portland, Oregon, the title is now the fourth edition of this informative and therefore eminently useful introduction to an area of law with which many lawyers or indeed students and academics may not be all that familiar. Both readable and scholarly, it focuses on the laws of the member countries of the University of the South Pacific, which we list here: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Three ethnicities predominate within the island groups of this vast region: Melanesians, Polynesians and Micronesians. Following an introductory chapter on the history and development of South Pacific law and jurisprudence, the book examines the framework of legal systems across this area, many of which are based on – or have specific links with -- the English common law.
In one particular chapter for example, there is an illuminating discussion of the relationship between custom and customary law on the one hand and common law and equity on the other. Individual chapters cover all pertinent aspects of the law in this region, including administrative law, customary law, constitutional law, family law, contract law and torts law. There is much reference to legislative provisions and case law within individual jurisdictions.
This new edition in handy paperback format has gone through extensive revision to incorporate the changes that have taken place since the last edition of 2011, including additional discussion of the laws of Papua New Guinea. Other new material covers mainly recent legislative developments that have occurred in, for example, Fiji and Samoa. Amendments to the constitution of courts in Marshall Islands, Tonga and Solomon Islands are discussed, together with other regional changes in the law.
As the authors point out, interest in South Pacific law has been on the increase, although still under-researched -- and here is where this book obviously makes a valuable contribution. Extensively footnoted with almost seventy-five pages of tables of cases, legislation and constitutions, it excels as a work of reference, written -- fortunately -- in an accessible and readable style, with fascinating insights into the history and varied cultures of the South Pacific region. From students to seasoned practitioners, anyone interested in South Pacific law should regard this book as an essential purchase.
The publication date is cited as at 2017.