• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Classification Specialist
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Development Studies, Law, Pacific Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Rebecca Monson
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Autumn Session 2020
    See Future Offerings

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:

  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

  1. Research Paper (70) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Participation in class discussions (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Reflective Reading Journal (20) [LO 1,2,3,4]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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.


Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours. Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week.

Click here for the LLM Masters Program timetable.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (7300XLLM, MLLM), Master of Laws in Migration (NLLML), Master of Laws in International Law (NLLIL), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (NLLEN), Master of Laws in Law, Governance & Development (NLLGD), Master of Laws in International Security Law (NLLSL), Master of Laws in Government and Regulation (NLLGR), Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP), OR Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 level LAWS courses or five 6100 level LAWS courses; OR Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; OR Master of Military Law (MMILL). Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for permission number.

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

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately 2 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.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
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.

Autumn Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
5583 05 May 2020 05 May 2020 22 May 2020 15 Jul 2020 Online View

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