The Cook Islands Court of Appeal handed down an important decision in early 2016 dealing with the issue of whether the state or a customary authority had the right to decide entitlement to a major customary title in the Cook Islands. As such, the case raises an issue that continues to be highly contested in many Pacific island nations: the limits of adjudicatory responsibility of customary authorities within the nationâ€™s constitutional framework. That such issues continue to arise in the Cook Islands, even fifty years after internal self-governance, is a testimony to the complexity of the task of determining the role of custom, customary leaders and institutions within an introduced legal and governance framework.
|Journal of South Pacific Law
|Published - 2016