25 Feb 2013

Call for a Melanesian jurisprudence in PNG legal system

6:34 am on 25 February 2013

A law specialist in Papua New Guinea says the country should develop a legal system which utilises both custom law and modern law.

The idea of a so-called "Melanesian jurisprudence" is being touted by the Assistant Registrar of PNG's National Court, David Gonol, who is a lawyer and author.

He says the authors of PNG's constitution were wise to make provision in the document to develop the country's own jurisprudence which they referred to as 'underlying law'.

PNG's current legal system is derived from the English legal system.

But Mr Gonol says that problems unique to PNG often demand a custom-based response which is why a Melanesian jurisprudence should be formulated using provisions of the Constitution.

"A body of law that is appreciating two different legal systems, bringing them together. So our courts are actually developing such principles to deal with very complex situations where sometimes customary law and modern law do not agree."