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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.

Legal organisations in Samoa
Carlo Scevola & Partners (CS&P Fiduciaire)