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- Legal System
Vanuatu’s legal system is a combination of English Common Law and French Civil Law. However, the constitution of Vanuatu ensures the continued effect of customary law as administered by regional customary courts in conjunction with common law. The judiciary is based on a standard framework consisting of the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and further inferior courts, including the island courts. An island court must have a supervising magistrate and, as a result of lack of resources, island courts do not function regularly. The Judicial Service Commission, part of the Ministry of Justice and Community Services, is responsible for managing the judiciary and appointing various officials including the Public Prosecutor and the Public Solicitor. The Vanuatu Law Commission, an independent statutory body, is tasked with reviewing Vanuatu law and recommending reforms where necessary.
Lawyers are admitted to practice in Vanuatu as ‘barrister and solicitor’ although advocate and lawyer are common generic terms used to loosely describe any type of legal practitioner. The Vanuatu Law Society is the main professional body in the country, promoting the rule of law and professional conduct, and is a member of the South Pacific Lawyers Association. Citizens of Vanuatu and Commonwealth countries can practice law in the country subject to a recognised law degree and professional qualifications or two years’ experience. There are several well-established law firms, most located in Port Vila, practicing commercial law and specialising in business and international tax law including AJC, Hudson & Sugden and Ridgway Blake Lawyers.
Not included in the World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013.
|Legal organisations in Vanuatu|
|Geoffrey Gee & Partners||