• Offered by Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Classification Specialist
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Development Studies, Law, Pacific Studies

Good governance', 'rule of law', 'strengthening access to justice' and 'land reform' are currently high on the agenda of governments and donors in the South Pacific region. Law reform is often presented as a remedy to political instability, corruption, disappointing economic growth, and conflict.

This course introduces students to the legal systems of the independent nations of the South Pacific and examines the relationship between law, governance and development in the region. It considers:

  • the general features of law and legal systems in countries of the South Pacific, including the influence of custom and tradition;
  • the multiple meanings of 'law' in the social, political and legislative contexts of the South Pacific;
  • constitutions, leadership and the organisation of the state;
  • “state building” and “access to justice” in the “arc of instability”; and
  • current debates about the status and recognition of customary law, particularly in relation to (i) land and natural resource management and (ii) human rights.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

A participant who has successfully completed this course should
  1. be familiar with the general patterns of law and legal systems in countries in the independent nations of the South Pacific, including:the influence of custom and tradition; and the influence of the colonial period and contemporary state-building initiatives;
  2. have a broad understanding of the multiple meanings of ‘law’ in the social, political and legislative contexts of the independent South Pacific, and be able to consider which meaning may be appropriate in different contexts;
  3. be able to evaluate contemporary academic and policy debates about the status and recognition of customary law, particularly as it relates to: governance and state-building; land and natural resource management; and human rights; and
  4. be able to access and analyse South Pacific legal materials and to employ a variety of tools and methodological approaches useful for legal research and practice in South Pacific contexts.

Indicative Assessment

Students must rely on the approved Means of Assessment available on the Wattle course site approximately 4 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.

The proposed scheme of assessment is:

  1. a research paper (worth 70%); and
  2. participation in class discussions (a maximum of 10% will be awarded based on participation); and
  3. a reflective reading journal (worth 20%).

    The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


    26 contact hours (intensive mode over 4 days) and private study time.  It is anticipated that students will be required to undertake approximately 2 hours of preparatory reading for every hour of face-to-face teaching.

    2014 Intensive course dates: 3-4 & 7-8 April

    Click here for the current LLM Masters Program timetable

    Requisite and Incompatibility

    To enrol in this course you must be studying in one of the following programs; Master of Laws (7300) Master of Laws (Legal Practice) (7312) Master of Diplomacy/Master of Laws (7883) Graduate Diploma in Law (6300) Master of Legal Studies (7305) Master of Environmental Law (7309) Master of Government and Commercial Law (7313) Master of International Law (7310) Master of Law, Governance and Development (7317) Master of International Security Law (7318) Master of Diplomacy/Master of International Law (7893) Graduate Diploma in Law, Governance and Development (6317) Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies (6305) Graduate Diploma in Environmental Law (6309) Graduate Diploma in Government and Commercial Law (6313) Graduate Diploma in International Law (6310) Graduate Diploma in International Security Law (6318) Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (6303) Graduate Certificate in Environmental Law (6351) OR you must be studying a Juris Doctor (7330) and have completed 30 units of 1000 level law (LAWS) courses.

    Prescribed Texts

    A collection of journal articles and book chapters will be compiled by the lecturer and accessible via WATTLE.

    Students will need to access materials via the Pacific Islands Legal Information Institute (PacLII): http://www.paclii.org/.

    Preliminary Reading

    A Course Outline will be available on the Wattle course site approximately 4 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.


    Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

    If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

    Student Contribution Band:
    Unit value:
    6 units

    If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

    Units EFTSL
    6.00 0.12500
    Domestic fee paying students
    Year Fee
    2015 $2958
    International fee paying students
    Year Fee
    2015 $4146
    Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

    Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

    ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

    The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
    Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

    Winter Session

    Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
    6802 20 Jun 2016 20 Jun 2016 01 Jul 2016 04 Aug 2016 In Person N/A

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