Pacific Punch: Tropical Flavours of Mixedness in the Island Republic of Vanuatu

29 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2012

See all articles by Susan Farran

Susan Farran

Northumbria University; University of the South Pacific

Date Written: June 12, 2012


It is recognised by comparativists that there are a number of possible 'legal families' in the world's legal systems, some of which are 'mixed'. Tradtionally this is understood to be a mix of common law and civil law but in more recent times it has been recognised that this mixture may include religious and customary laws. The more expansive understanding of this category of 'mixed' creates a broader family, with potentially more members. This paper consider the process of mixing, unmixing and re-mixing which is illustrated by the legal system of the Pacific republic of Vanuatu. Ruled uniquely by an Anglo-French Condominium government prior to independence, Vanuatu has formally retained the English and French laws in force at independence and the two languages, and in principle might seem to be a perfect mixed system. In practice however things are different and this paper considers the factors which influence the mixing process and the consequences of this.

Keywords: Mixed legal systems, Vanuatu, French, English, customary

JEL Classification: K00, K19, K40

Suggested Citation

Farran, Susan, Pacific Punch: Tropical Flavours of Mixedness in the Island Republic of Vanuatu (June 12, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Susan Farran (Contact Author)

Northumbria University ( email )

City Campus East
208, City Campus East-1
Newcastle upon tyne, NE1 8ST
United Kingdom

University of the South Pacific ( email )

Laucala Campus

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