• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • 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:

  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.

Other Information

Classes may be offered in non-standard sessions and be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (a minimum of 36 hours). Please refer to the LLB timetable for dates. Please contact the ANU College of Law Student Administration Services to request a permission code to enrol in classes offered in non-standard sessions.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Participation in class discussions (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Reading memo (20) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Reflective Reading Journal (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Research Paper (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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 36 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 three contact hours per week. Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.

Click here for the LLB Program course list

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Bachelor of Laws (ALLB) and have completed or be completing five LAWS 1000 level courses; or Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed or be completing five LAWS 1000 or 6100 level courses. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS8006 Law and Development in the Contemporary South Pacific.

Prescribed Texts

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course. Alternatively, this information will be published in the Program course list when known.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2024 $4980
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6000
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
6468 01 Jul 2025 TBA TBA 19 Aug 2025 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions