Getting Down to Business: Developing the Underlying Law in Papua New Guinea

Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, 46:2, 155-171, 2014

Posted: 19 Jun 2015

See all articles by Jennifer C. Corrin

Jennifer C. Corrin

The University of Queensland, Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law, TC Beirne School of Law

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

At Independence, Papua New Guinea’s Constitution gave customary laws a prominent place in the country’s legal system. However, for many years Papua New Guinea’s courts largely ignored customary laws and fashioned the underlying law almost entirely along the lines of common law. In 2000, the Papua New Guinea Parliament enacted the Underlying Law Act 2000, which requires the courts to look first and foremost to customary laws in developing the underlying law. This paper analyses the Act, describing its aims and the methods it employs to ensure that the courts will use customary laws in developing the underlying law. It considers whether Papua New Guinea courts are following the Act’s mandates, and, indeed, whether this is possible. The paper considers possible ways forward for Papua New Guinea to create a legal system based firmly on Melanesian values, beliefs and customary laws.

JEL Classification: k00

Suggested Citation

Corrin, Jennifer C., Getting Down to Business: Developing the Underlying Law in Papua New Guinea (2014). Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, 46:2, 155-171, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2620060

Jennifer C. Corrin (Contact Author)

The University of Queensland, Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law, TC Beirne School of Law ( email )

The University of Queensland
St Lucia
4072 Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia
07 33652295 (Phone)

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