Many communities across the Pacific islands region write down their own ‘customary’ or ‘local’ rules and regulations in the form of what are called customary or community laws, by-laws, constitutions or even ordinances (referred to collectively as ‘community laws’). This has a long history in many places, particularly during the colonial period, but has intensified in recent years and is taking different forms in different places. A number of national and provincial governments in the region have also recently initiated efforts to document and even codify local customary laws.
This conference will explore the potential significance of these developments, particularly in relation to the management of conflict, engagement with legal pluralism, developing more responsive and effective systems of governance, and addressing gender-based violence. It will also seek to develop a joint conceptual framework for further collaborative and comparative research into this practice by scholars and policy-makers around the region and beyond.