24 Jun 2011

Vanuatu chief says court system is foreign

3:05 pm on 24 June 2011

The chairman of a council of chiefs in Vanuatu says more cases such as divorce proceedings and land disputes should be resolved through custom not through the court.

Chief Claude Tabi, who is the head of the Pentecost Council of Chiefs in Port Vila, says the court system is difficult to understand because it's foreign, whereas people are familiar with customary systems.

He says in court there's always a losing party but when a chief presides over a dispute there's more room for compromise.

"If you go to the courthouse 100 percent one will win, and hundred percent the other one is loser. You need to go to the customary court to make sure that you check the case according to customary law, you've got some sort of understanding about culture, tradition and custom."

Claude Tabi says if cases were dealt with through a customary process it would save time and money.