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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores international law in the South Pacific Island states of Oceania. While there are some commonalities, the area is one of immense cultural and biological diversity. South Pacific Island states are beset by plural legal systems, where state laws coexist with non-state laws, at times operating side by side and at others overlapping or even intermingling. These competing domestic laws are not the only sources of law to contend with; international law plays an increasingly large role in these countries. While international law is traditionally regarded as the law governing the relationship between states, ‘modern’ international law includes rules relating to individuals and non-state bodies. This additional layer of law increases the complexities of the relationship between formal and customary laws. The chapter then focuses on international law in common law island states in the Pacific, specifically looking at the South Pacific Island states which have ratified the Pacific Island States Trade Agreement.

Keywords: Pacific Island states, Oceania, international law, state law, customary law

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