The July 2018 Codification and Creation of Community & Customary Laws in the South Pacific and Beyond conference at The Australian National University focused on the proliferation of unofficial community law-making and other initiatives to codify customary laws in the Pacific. The significance of these developments was particularly discussed for conflict management, engaging with legal pluralism, community governance and addressing gender-based violence. Researchers and speakers from government and non-government organisations across the region presented case studies from Papua New Guinea (PNG), New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Fiji and Vanuatu. This In Brief identifies the main themes discussed.
Community law-making and codification are complex and contested phenomena particular to local socio-political contexts. Our initial engagement with them at the conference was deliberately broad and exploratory, and intended to help shape a longer-term research agenda.