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An introduction to the merging legal systems of the Pacific Islands states, including issues of constitutional development, the recognition and application of customary law, modern and traditional legal institutions, land tenure regimes, personal law, and the legal recognition of economic activity, such as international trade, foreign investments and national resources projects. In addition to surveying the position of particular states, such as Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu, there will also be consideration of the nature and role of regional organisations, such as the South Pacific Forum and the Forum Fishing Agency. The course will be taught in conjunction with the Law Faculty of the University of the South Pacific at the Emalus Campus in Port Vila, Vanuatu so as to further expose students to a Pacific Islands legal system and its key features as well as deepening links between the UNSW Law Faculty and legal academics in the region. It will be taught in intensive mode over two weeks, and will include trips to local courts and law firms, as well as to contexts where customary law is observed. Students will have the option of staying on campus in student residences, or finding their own accommodation. 

Faculty Faculty of Law
Study Level


Offering Terms

Summer Term



Indicative contact hours


Conditions for Enrolment

Prerequisite: Completion of 78 UOC in LAWS courses.

Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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