Find Legal expertise in Samoa
- Legal System
Samoa’s legal system has its foundations in English Common Law with some elements of customary law also recognised in acts of parliament. Samoa’s court system consists of two district courts, a Supreme Court manned by five local judges and an Appeal Court, the highest court, that sits once a year and is overseen by overseas judges. There is a separate Land and Titles Court that deals with matters relating to customary land ownership and ‘matai’ (chief) titles. A fa’amasino fesoasoani is a member of the judiciary in the district court; their powers are lower than that of a judge and they do not necessarily have to be a qualified lawyer. The Village Fono Act (1990) gave small local trials official recognition, though limited power, in the judicial system. It is not required that written records of Village Fono proceedings are kept.
In 2012 there were over 20 lawyers practicing in Samoa. Lawyers in the country are styled as barristers or solicitors although it is not unusual for one to fulfil both roles. The primary law school in the region is the University of the South Pacific’s School of Law. It provides programmes which specialise in the local legal system. Courses in commercial law are available at the National University of Samoa. Admission to the bar is limited to Samoan citizens who have completed their academic training in either of the aforementioned institutions or in another country which is deemed by the Council of Law Society to have a similar legal system to Samoa.
The Samoa Law Society is the professional body of the sector. Examples of firms include Drake & Co, Kruse, Enari & Barlow and Maiava V. R. Peteru Law Firm. Foreign lawyers can practice in the country and are often from the neighbouring Pacific nations, Australia, and New Zealand.
Not included in the World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013.
|Legal organisations in Samoa|
|Carlo Scevola & Partners (CS&P Fiduciaire)||