(2001) JLP 46: 49-101
STATUTORY DEVELOPMENTS' IN MELANESIAN CUSTOMARY LAW
Jennifer Corrin Care and Jean G. Zorn
This article analyses and compares recent legislation relating to customary law in two Pacific countries: the Underlying Law Act 2000, of Papua New Guinea, and the Customs Recognition Act 2000, of Solomon Islands. The article first presents a historical analysis of the recognition and regulation of customary law during the colonial period and since independence. Each Act is then examined in detail. The individual clauses of the Acts, and in particular the drafting ambiguities are analysed in the context of comparison between the two statutes and discussion of earlier drafts, associated legislation and relevant case law. The differences between the two statutes, the reasons for those differences, and their likely consequences are considered. From this exposition and analysis conclusions are drawn regarding the future of customary law in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, and its compatibility with the introduced system of law.