IB 2018/19 Community Law-Making and the Codification of Customary Laws — Social and Gender Issues in Samoa

Author/s (editor/s):

Ramona Boodoosingh, Penelope Schoeffel

Publication year:

2018

Publication type:

In Brief

Samoa1 possesses two parallel systems through which social order and justice are maintained: the formal constitution-based judicial and legal system and the traditional justice mechanism provided by the village fono (councils) and matai (chiefs and orators). Local government in Samoa is administered by the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD) through traditional village councils, and similar local government structures have been established in new settlements and suburban areas, albeit without historical traditional authority. This In Brief presents several social and gender issues which may emerge from the codification of customary laws as a result of the 2016 amendments to the Village Fono Act.

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