Mariesa J. McHenry

Legal Systems Very Different From Ours

Professor Friedman

Rough Draft

*Please note all citations will be in correct MLA format in final draft



“The Samoan Way”



I. Introduction


Independent Samoa[1] (hereinafter “Samoa”) is an island nation of just a little more than 1,000 square miles. It may be small in size but it is full of culture and pride and home to a unique legal system that infuses the basic fundamental and traditional values of the Samoan people with a structured and modernized western form of government. In Samoa, family (aiga) and fa’asamoa (the “Samoan Way”) are the center of social, village and political life. These concepts are so closely interwoven that one cannot be understood without the other and it is this focus on family and the Samoan way that has led the country to have a distinct and individual legal system.[2]

Laws in Samoa were originally pronounced and upheld orally by village chiefs (ali’i) and Samoans relied heavily on and respected the authority of these family leaders.[3] Though they were subject to German, British, American and New Zealand control since the mid-nineteenth century, Samoa resisted imperialism and managed to preserve their culture and customs, largely due in part to their own functioning tribal governments. In 1962, Samoa peacefully gained independence from New Zealand and what remains today of traditional Samoan society is their language, ethnic makeup[4] land use divisions and hierarchical village, political and social structures.[5] Today Samoa consists of eleven traditional districts each of which is subdivided into villages.[6] There are approximately 360 separate villages on the island of Samoa, varying in size and each individually functioning.[7]

Upon independence, Samoa created a multifaceted legal system “empowering indigenous communities and maximizing participation”.[8] This unique structure combined its traditional political institutions with those adopted from the Westminster style of democracy.[9] After decades of colonialism, the new independent government placed great value on expressing Samoan custom and culture. A specific provision was even created in the Constitution (Article 114), which states all customary laws existing prior to independence are to remain in force until they are repealed or amended. This paper will explore the structure of both the Samoan local, tribal government and the national institution and how they are able to balance, and in other cases not balance, sometimes conflicting ideologies between a westernized government and customary chiefly system.  



II. Fa’amatai - The Traditional System

In order to understand the national, mixed legal system, I will first discuss the Samoan, “local” government. Villages in Samoa are first governed by traditional law.[10] This indigenous traditional system, known as the Fa’amatai, has governed Samoa for centuries and revolves around the governance of family leaders known as the Matai.[11] “Fa’amatai” itself translates as “in the way of” (fa’a) “the family name” (matai). Family in Samoa is not established just by blood or marriage but extends many degrees, all falling under their unifying leader.[12] The Matai is either a chief (ali’i) or an orator (tulafale or failauga), whose duties are to care for the family and control, maintain and preserve village lands and resources.[13] Orators have an additional responsibility, which is to know all the traditional stories and genealogies pertaining to his or her particular village.[14] Each Matai represents their clan/family in the village council (“Village Fono”) as well as sometimes in Parliament.[15] The Village Fono (discussed at length below) is responsible for community order, organization and development of the village.[16] Each Matai bears a family name, or title, which succeeds from one holder to another.[17]

Matai selection takes into consideration many factors. These include commendable conduct, blood connections and descent, service to the clan and previous title holders, and his or her personal reputation in the village.[18] Succession is not necessarily from father to eldest son, as all members in a family group are eligible.[19] However, if a Matai dies without a successor having been chosen prior to his death, toe o le uso (“the right of the remaining brother”) does play a role in selection of the next title-holder. Toe o le uso custom provides that if there is a surviving brother, he has a very good claim to be the next successor. He still must be considered in relation to other capable individuals but if the choice comes down to him and others who are equally qualified, the surviving brother will generally receive the title.[20]  Women are also entitled to family leadership; although it is very rare and as of 2012, less than 10% of the Matai population in Samoa were women.[21] Matais generally hold their positions for life however, they may be removed if they are not fulfilling their chiefly duties and the family makes a strong enough argument in a petition to the Village Fono.[22] Matai are also permitted to retire if leadership becomes too burdensome.[23] Matai may nominate successors (as well as make other wishes) through their version of a will called a mavaega before death or retirement. Nominees are still of course, subject to family vote against other candidates.[24] One other tribal official in the fa’amatai that is worth mentioning is the Pulenu’u. The Pulenu’u is the direct Government representative in every village.[25] He is on the Government pay-roll and his duties are to record births and deaths as well as perform other administrative tasks. The Pulenu’u has little to no actual authority in the village, does not participate in general Village Fono proceedings and if he is ever ostracized (a common method of reprimand in villages) for any reason, must be removed from his position and replaced by another.[26]

Families are subject to the Matai pule (authority) which allows Matai to administer family customary land, direct family labor relating to use of the land and working of plantations, as well as distribute or apportion proceeds of work performed.[27] Family members are allowed to work outside of the village however, it must not interfere with their village duties which come first.[28] Samoans may belong to many families, mainly due to the fact that a woman marrying into another family “confers on all her blood descendants membership of her own.”[29] Kinship in Samoa may be claimed through female as well as male ancestors.[30] It is usual custom for a woman who marries to become a member of and live with the family of her husband, however it is also permitted for a husband to live with his wife’s family and serve her Matai.[31]

Other than the tribal hierarchy and local government, a defining trait of Samoan traditional law is the use and preservation of customary land. The Samoan Constitution recognizes three types of land: freehold, public and customary. Of the total land area in Samoa, about 81% is customary, 4% freehold and 15% public.[32] Customary land is “held in accordance with Samoan custom and usage” and is not owned individually.[33] Authority over residential and plantation land is vested in the Matai title-holder to which it is attached and uncultivated land is controlled by the chiefs and orators of the village.[34] Customary land may be bequeathed and transferred by Matai (for example “to a married daughter”) however, it is expressly protected under the Constitution and is against the law to alienate or dispose of an interest in the land.[35] The use and ownership of customary land is considered an unassailable right and is a defining characteristic of the Samoan people. A Samoan proverb states “E le soifua umi le tagata fa’atau fanua” – “the man who sells family land will not live to an old age – devils will bring about his early death.”

Following this methodology, the most common legal dispute in Samoa is over customary land. They are first dealt with by the Matai and if a decision cannot be reached, then the Village Fono will hear the case. If a resolution still cannot be achieved, which is often what happens, especially when there are different Matai arguing over land boundaries, the Land and Titles Court will hear the matter.[36] In addition to arguments within the confines of the villages, there are ongoing land disputes between the Matai and the national government and will be discussed later.[37]

Samoans place great importance and authority in their tribal government and leadership and the established legal system reflects that.


III. The ‘Modern’ Legal System

The Samoan government (Malo) is a Parliamentary Democracy with a unicameral legislative assembly which strongly takes into account and blends in all aspects of the traditional fa’amatai system.[38] The Legal System is structured as follows:

A.    Executive

The role of the Executive is to formulate and implement government policy.[39] The Executive of Samoa has four parts: 1) The Head of State, or Traditional King (O le Ao o le Malo), who is elected by the Legislative assembly and holds office for a term of five years;[40] 2) The Prime Minister who is appointed by the head of state and presides over the cabinet;[41] 3) The Cabinet of Ministers who make government policy and conduct business of the government;[42] and 4) The Executive Council which consists of all the before mentioned individuals.[43]

B.     Parliament (The Legislature) – O Le Fono a Faipule

Parliament consists of the Head of State together with the Legislative Assembly. Out of the 49 members of Parliament 47 are Matai who perform dual roles as tribal chiefs and modern politicians.[44] The remaining two seats are reserved for non-Samoans to represent the non-native population.[45] Members serve a five-year term, are elected by universal suffrage and their role is to pass laws, approve the expenditure of money, conduct debates on Bills, enact Statutes and serve as a forum for political debates.[46] 

C.   Judiciary

The Judiciary is an independent body that is responsible for interpreting and applying Parliament’s laws.[47] It creates and interprets case law, solves disputes of fact and law between individuals as well as between individuals and the Sate, and is compromised of two branches; 1) the Supreme, District and Appeals courts who deal with civil and criminal matters and matters relating to the Constitution, and 2) the Land and Titles Court which deals specifically with Samoan customary disputes.[48] Jurisdiction is important in Samoa and courts may only act within their jurisdiction as defined by law.[49] If a court acts outside its jurisdiction, it is said to be acting ultra vires, and makes the Court’s decision on that matter invalid.[50] For example, a Land Titles Court cannot hear a case for murder.

a.     Civil Jurisdiction

Civil jurisdiction covers disputes between individuals and between individuals and the State that are not criminal matters.[51]

b.     Criminal Jurisdiction and Procedure

A crime in Samoa is 1) the commission of an act that is forbidden by Statute; 2) the omission of an act that is required by Statute; or 3) an offense against the state.[52] There are different categories of crime and the penalty for an individual crime determines which court has jurisdiction to hear and decide the matter.[53] Criminal prosecutions are generally brought by the State against a person who is alleged to have committed an offense but an individual may also bring a private persecution.[54]

Every person charged with an offense is presumed innocent until proven guilty and is entitled to a fair and public hearing in a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal (Article 9 of the Samoan Constitution).[55] No person shall be convicted of an offense unless it is defined by law, and a penalty cannot be imposed that is heavier than at the time the offense was committed.[56] Though criminal jurisdiction is reserved for Supreme, District and Appeals Courts, the Village Fono does at times hear and pass down their own judgments within the villages on criminal matters and will be discussed more in depth later in this paper.

The Court System is hierarchal, meaning decisions of the higher courts are binding on lower courts.[57]

c.     The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal is Samoa’s highest court.[58] It may hear and determine appeals from the Supreme Court in the following circumstances:

1)    The Supreme Court certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law involving the interpretation or effect of any provision in the Constitution;

2)    The Supreme Court refuses to certify that the case involves a substantial question of law involving the interpretation or effect of any provision in the Constitution and the Court of Appeal grants special leave, thus overriding the Supreme Court’s refusal to grant a certificate of Appeal;

3)    Proceedings involving Article 4 of the Constitution which regards remedies for the enforcement of any fundamental right established by the Constitution; and

4)    Criminal proceedings originated in the District Court and the Supreme Court has heard the appeal and the Court of Appeal grants special leave.[59]

d.     The Supreme Court

            The Supreme Court is the superior Court of Record and has unlimited original civil and criminal jurisdiction and original jurisdiction over cases dealing with fundamental rights or other constitutional matters.[60] The Supreme court may hear and determine appeals in the following circumstances:

1)    Civil appeals from a District Court where:

a.     There has been a decision involving $1,000.00 or more;

b.     The title to land is in question and the court can determine whether land is freehold land, customary land or public land if it is in dispute; and

c.     Leave has been granted by District Court.[61]

2)    Criminal appeals brought by an appellant who has:

a.     Been convicted; or

b.     Had an order made against him/her other than for payment of costs on the dismissal of information.[62]

e.     The District Court

The District Court is composed of District Court Judges and Fa’amasino Fesoasoani (Assistant District Court Judges).[63] When presided over by District Court Judges, they have jurisdiction to determine:

1)    Any action found in tort or in contract where the debt, demand or damage or value of chattels claimed is not more than $10,000.00;

2)    Claims for money recoverable by Statute;

3)    Actions for the recovery of freehold land where the value of and or interest in land does not exceed $10,000.00;

4)    Claims in equity where the sum claimed does not exceed $10,000.00;

5)    Offenses punishable by fine, penalty, forfeiture or a period of imprisonment not exceeding five years.[64]

            When presided over by Fa’amasino Fesoasoani, it has jurisdiction to hear and determine:

1)    Any action found in contract or tort where the amount involved does not exceed $10,000.00;

2)    Actions for recovery of any penalty (except a criminal fine), expense or contribution which is conferred by legislation and the amount claimed does not exceed $10,000.00;

3)    Criminal matters where a penalty will not exceed more than $1,000 or a sentence of imprisonment.[65]

Customary land is excluded from the District Court’s jurisdiction although it can enforce decisions, or sanction breaches of decisions of the Land and Titles Court.[66]

f.      The Land and Titles Court

The Land and Titles Court has original jurisdiction over all matters relating to Samoan names and titles, and all claims and disputes relating to customary land and the right of succession to property held in accordance with custom and usage.[67] No legal representation is permitted in the Land and Titles Court and villagers represent themselves before a panel of judges to argue their claims.[68] A typical hearing in the Land and Tiles Court begins with a prayer and a brief kava ceremony (in which a ceremonial beverage from the powdered root of Piper methysticum is shared with each Matai).[69] Judgments in this court are made against the land and therefore are binding on all people affected, whether they are parties to the case or not.[70] Decisions must give reasons, be pronounced in open court and be published.[71] Finally, the Land and Titles Court has appellate jurisdiction over both its own decisions and decisions of the Village Fono.[72] Land and Title Courts may hear appeals if there is: 1) new evidence, 2) misconduct by a party or a witness, 3) misconduct or mistake on the part of the court, 4) lack of jurisdiction, 5) error of law or 6) a decision against the weight of the evidence.[73]

g.     Village Fono

            The Village Fono is not a court per se but it is a rule making body whose decisions hold an immense weight in Samoan society and can also be appealed to the Land and Titles Court. The Village Fono have the power to deal with matters of the village, in accordance with the custom and usage of that village as provided for in the Village Fono Act 1990. They are free to create their own “laws” and guidelines for how village life should be carried out. The Village Fono are headed by a collection of Matai and they act as the judicial and executive authority of each village.[74] Jurisdiction of the Village Fono is limited to the residents of each particular village, except those on government, freehold, or leasehold land.[75] Power is given to the Village Fono to punish any resident, in accordance with custom and usage of the village, who fails to obey any direction of the Fono or acts contrary to customary law.[76] This includes both criminal and civil proceedings.[77] Customary law is defined as “any custom or usage which has acquired the force of law in Samoa under the provisions of any Act or under a judgment of a Court of competent jurisdiction”.[78] Customary law must also be consistent with the Constitution and if it comes into conflict, the Constitution will be the supreme law.[79] Punishments handed down by the Village Fono for violations of customary law include fines in money, animals, foods, finely woven mats, as well as the order of the offender to undertake any work on village land, and in the most severe cases, banishment.[80] Decision making in the Village Fono is based up consensus and debate will continue until unanimity is reached and all signify their agreement.[81] Unlike the Land and Titles and other courts, the Village Fono Act 1990 further allows matters to be resolved without a written record.[82]

IV. Village Custom vs. Government and Constitutional Guarantee

Though both systems of government have relatively coexisted and interacted with little issue, there are still situations when incompatibly or conflict arise between customary laws, fundamental rights established by the Constitution and other legislation passed by the government. This is most likely a result of no real system of checks and balances in Samoa.[83] Issues most commonly arise in matters that involve 1) the freedom of movement and residence, 2) the freedom of religion or religious instruction, 3) the freedom from discrimination and 4) the use of constitutionally protected land.[84]

A.    Freedom of Movement and Residence.

The law, at a national level prohibits forced exile under the constitutional guarantee that all individuals have the right to move freely throughout Samoa and to reside in any part thereof.[85] In Leituala v. Mauga, Kilifi et al (2004), the Supreme Court held that even under the Village Fono Act 1990, village councils do not have the power to order customary banishments as punishment after a family was banned from a village when allegations of misconduct towards the village’s Methodist Pastor and his family were made against a schoolboy.[86] In this case, the Plaintiff (the boy’s father) was not allowed to attend the Village Fono hearing because he was not Matai, no witnesses were presented and the family was ordered to leave the village, and all of their possessions, within 3 hours of the council’s verdict. All twenty members of the family left by the designated time except one older son who had not been informed of the decision. When he returned home from work, members of the village attacked him with sticks and stones. He managed to escape with his life only after a Matai from a neighboring village begged the Village Fono for leniency. The Plaintiff brought an action in the Supreme Court claiming damages on the basis that his constitutional rights, specifically his right to move freely and reside in any place of his choice and his right to a fair trial, had been breached by the order of banishment. The Supreme Court held banishment by Village Fono to be unconstitutional and awarded the Plaintiff and his family a total of $164,900 for the loss of their plantation and animals, general damages for pain and suffering and aggravated damages for discrimination and the presumption of guilt.[87]

 Despite this ruling, village councils continue to use banishment as a punishment, most commonly for acts which result in the death of another or bring shame to the “moral character” of the village. In January 2008, Leva’a Sauso, a high ranking Matai and former Member of Parliament, was banished from his village of Aplima uta because his son-in law was arrested and charged by police for allegedly murdering another villager.[88] He appealed and the Land and Titles Court later ruled he and his family should be allowed to return. In July of the same year, a mother and her children were banished from the village of Elise Fou after her husband killed a man he believed she was having an affair with.[89] In another case, a woman and all her descendants were banished from the village of Vaiusu after police confirmed members of her family were selling marijuana and had illegally discharged firearms in the village.[90] It is believed that many more cases of banishment have occurred and continue to occur as village banishments are generally kept private and rarely made public.[91] Although banishment sentences that are brought to the Land and Titles Court are often reversed, it is unclear how many exiles actually return. Many times exiles do not return out of fear of victimization and further ostracizing by villagers and leaders.[92] 

B.    Freedom of Religion or Religious Instruction

Freedom of religion is another constitutional guarantee; however there have been many instances where village councils have banished people and handed down other forms of punishment for worshipping a religion that the village did not sanction, all in the name of “maintaining social harmony”.[93] Samoa is largely Christian with major denominations of Congressionalist, Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Latter Day Saints as well as small populations of Baha’i and Muslim groups.[94] Religious affiliation generally depends on what is practiced in each individual village.[95] The Village Fono are allowed to create guidelines or rules within their jurisdiction with regard to religious practice and expression.[96] This sometimes creates constitutional conflict. In 2000, 54 members of a Bible study group were jailed after they violated Falealupo village’s policy of holding no more than two Bible studies a week. They were brought to the Land and Titles Court and after continuing to disobey the policy, were held in contempt and sentenced to an undisclosed amount of jail time. After a public outcry and strong independent and government media attention, the villagers were released after serving two months. This was also most likely due in part to a separate Supreme Court ruling where individuals in a neighboring village were jailed on a similar incident. Here the Supreme Court ordered the release of the prisoners and held that the purpose of the Land and Title Courts was to “render decisions that lead to the improvement of life in the village, not to the infringement of constitutional rights such as freedom of religion.”[97]

C.   Freedom from Discrimination

One instance where constitutional claims did not [legally] override custom was In Re the Constitution Attorney-General v. Olomalu (1982). Here, the Attorney General appealed a decision of the Supreme Court which found that the voting system for electing members of Parliament was discriminatory. As discussed above, this is the practice that only Matai may sit in [the 47 applicable] Parliamentary seats. The Court of Appeal overturned the Supreme Court’s decision and found that the fundamental rights section of the Constitution did not apply to that dealing with Parliamentary election. Therefore, the Matai voting system did not violate the right to freedom from discriminatory legislation.[98] This decision has been challenged and since upheld, the most recent case being brought in 2001.[99]

a.     Domestic Violence and Rape

            Though the law prohibits the abuse of women, social custom tolerates physical abuse within the home.[100] While sentiment is slowly changing, women, (especially in the villages) are traditionally viewed as subservient and subordinate to men and physical abuse is common.[101] The role and rights of Village Fono to exercise judicial and executive control prevents police from interfering in instances of domestic violence, unless there is a complaint from a victim – which is strongly discouraged and rare.[102] Domestic abusers are typically punished by village councils, but only if the abuse is considered extreme – i.e. showing visible signs of physical abuse.[103]

            Many cases of rape in go unreported because like domestic violence incidents, reporting and action is discouraged.[104] Rape cases that do reach the courts however, are treated seriously and convicted offenders usually receive stiff sentences of several years’ imprisonment.[105] Spousal rape in Samoa is not illegal.[106]

D.   Constitutionally Protected Land   

One other major source of legal tension between the customary and modern governments is land disputes. Because over 80% of Samoa is customary land, the Matai and village leaders hold a significant weight and value in terms of the country’s economic development, conservation, sustainability, tourism, national infrastructure and access to natural resources such as water, forestry, road access, agriculture and farming.[107] While this is considered “family” land, issues have arisen between the Matai and national government in terms of how land in Samoa is to be used and treated. Two large reoccurring concerns are the; 1) illegal sale of customary land for monetary gain and 2) conflict between village and government for how land is to be developed.

In 2002, a man attempted to register his purchase of customary land for which he paid a total of $100,000.USD, with Samoa’s Lands, Survey and Environment Department (Registrar). The deed of ownership was considered void and the man was unable to register ‘his’ land because as stated above, customary land may not be sold and interests may be disposed of.[108] The increase of illegal transfers of land such as this prompted the Department to issue a public notice to remind citizens that selling customary land is illegal and residents are subject to both village and national punishment.[109] In 2004, chief Fiu Tu’ipala, representing his village, rejected a Government proposal to build a hydro power plant on the Sili river where the village is located.[110] The village decided, “the future of their children and grandchildren [was] more important.”[111] The chief went on to say that the residents eat and drink from the Sili river and they wanted to preserve its natural state. [112] As a result, the Government was forced to find a different location.

In 2008, the landmark Land and Titles Registration Act was passed which permits the lease and sale of customary land for “public purposes”.[113] This act has sparked outrage among villagers and its constitutionality is currently being challenged in the Courts.[114] Many see it as the Government’s way to legally get around the constitutionally protected areas and take both land and power from the Matai (and thus, the families) to do with it what they please.[115] The passage of this Act is of great concern in Samoa and according to one author, “might even spell the end for both the Samoan national political system and the traditional Samoan political system, as they both currently exist.”[116]

An example of just how serious this issue has become can be seen in the conflict surrounding the disputed land near Samoa’s International Airport where a district hospital is scheduled to be built on claimed customary land by the village of Satapuala.[117] The area in dispute is currently under Government title however villagers claim it is customary land that was illegally taken from them during the colonial administration in the mid-19th century.[118] Until it has been established one way or the other, the villagers do not want the Government acting in any way that would “disrupt the preservation” of the disputed land.[119] In August 2012 when officials turned up to survey the land designated for the hospital, many upset villagers attempted to create a roadblock to prevent them from entering. Police were called and a standoff ensued where there were “flames, gunshots and stone throwing”.[120] Though the situation was able to be settled "in an amicable Samoan traditional way”[121], the Prime Minister called the action by the village “a rebellion against the government” and stated that those “involved must be rounded up and charged for breaking the law.”[122] As of August 2013, construction for the hospital had not begun.

V. Conclusion

Samoa’s mixed legal system provides the best of both words: a traditional, customary system functioning together with modern practice and procedure. While it is a novel concept and has operated relatively smoothly for the past four and half decades, there are cracks in the system that will no doubt need to examined and addressed in order for this “harmony” to continue. It is the relationship, acceptance and mutual respect of the Samoan people that have allowed this system to successfully function and hopefully this fa’asamoa (Samoan Way) will allow the amicable and peaceful relationship between people, village and government to continue.


[1] As opposed to American Samoa.

[2] Schultz, Dr. E. “The Most Important Principles of Samoan Family Law, and the Laws of Inheritance”. The Journal of the Polynesian Society. at 45

[3] Id.

[4] As of 2012, out of the approximately 195,000 civilians living on Samoa, 94% are identified as ethnically Samoan; “CIA – The World Factbook.”

[5] Techera, Erika J. “Samoa: Law, Custom and Conservation”. New Zealand Journal of Environmental Law. at 364

[6] Corin, Jennifer. “Resolving Land Disputes in Samoa”. Making Land Work – Volume Two:

[7] “CIA – The World Factbook.”

[8] Techera, Erika J. “Samoa: Law, Custom and Conservation”. New Zealand Journal of Environmental Law. at 361

[9] Samoa: The Forum Principles. 149

[10] US Department of State. Samoa – Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

[11] Id.

[12] Grattan, F.J.H. An Introduction to Samoan Custom. New Zealand Electronic Text Collection.

[13] Id.

[14] Id.

[15] Id.; note: there may be several chiefs, however there is only one Matai per clan.

[16] Id.

[17] Id.

[18] Grattan, F.J.H. An Introduction to Samoan Custom. New Zealand Electronic Text Collection.

[19] Id.

[20] Id.

[21] Final Population and Housing Census. Samoan Bureau of Statistics.

[22] Id.

[23] Grattan, F.J.H. An Introduction to Samoan Custom. New Zealand Electronic Text Collection.

[24] Id.

[25] Id.

[26] Grattan, F.J.H. An Introduction to Samoan Custom. New Zealand Electronic Text Collection.

[27] Id.

[28] Id.

[29] Id.

[30] Id.

[31] Id.

[32] Corin, Jennifer. “Resolving Land Disputes in Samoa”. Making Land Work – Volume Two:

[33] Id.

[34] Id.

[35] Id.

[36] Id.

[37] Id.

[38] Sapolu, Honourable Chief Justice Patu F M. “Land and Titles Court Bench Book”. at 2

[39] Id.

[40] Id.

[41] Id. at 3

[42] Id.

[43] Id.

[44] Id.


[46] Sapolu, Honourable Chief Justice Patu F M. “Land and Titles Court Bench Book”. at 4

[47] Id.

[48] Id.

[49] Id. at 5

[50] Id.

[51] Id.

[52] Id. at 6

[53] Sapolu, Honourable Chief Justice Patu F M. “Land and Titles Court Bench Book”. at 6

[54] Id.

[55] Id.

[56] Id.

[57] Id.

[58] Id. at 7

[59] Sapolu, Honourable Chief Justice Patu F M. “Land and Titles Court Bench Book”. at 7-8.

[60] Id at 8

[61] Id.

[62] Sapolu, Honourable Chief Justice Patu F M. “Land and Titles Court Bench Book”. at 9

[63] Id.

[64] Id.

[65] Sapolu, Honourable Chief Justice Patu F M. “Land and Titles Court Bench Book”. at 9-10

[66] Id. at 9

[67] Id. at 10

[68] Techera, Erika J. “Samoa: Law, Custom and Conservation”. New Zealand Journal of Environmental Law. at 367

[69] Corin, Jennifer. “Resolving Land Disputes in Samoa”. Making Land Work – Volume Two:

[70] Id.

[71] Corin, Jennifer. “Resolving Land Disputes in Samoa”. Making Land Work – Volume Two:

[72] Id.

[73] Id.

[74] Techera, Erika J. “Samoa: Law, Custom and Conservation”. New Zealand Journal of Environmental Law. at 364

[75] Samoa. Leadership Report at

[76] Techera, Erika J. “Samoa: Law, Custom and Conservation”. New Zealand Journal of Environmental Law. at 368

[77] Sapolu, Honourable Chief Justice Patu F M. “Land and Titles Court Bench Book”. at 14

[78] Id. at 15

[79] Id. at 16

[80] Samoa. Leadership Report at 154

[81] Grattan, F.J.H. An Introduction to Samoan Custom. New Zealand Electronic Text Collection.

[82] Corin, Jennifer. “Resolving Land Disputes in Samoa”. Making Land Work – Volume Two:

[83] Id.

[84] Corin, Jennifer. “Resolving Land Disputes in Samoa”. Making Land Work – Volume Two:

[85] Samoa. Leadership Report at 154

[86] Forsyth, Miranda. “Case note: Banishment and Freedom of Movement in Samoa: Leituala v Mauga, Kilfifi et al.” Journal of South Pacific Law.

[87] Samoa. Leadership Report at 154

[88] Id.

[89] Id.

[90] Id at 154-155.

[91] Id at 155.

[92] Id.

[93] Samoa. Leadership Report at 158; US Department of State. Samoa – Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

[94] “Samoa” Countries and Their Cultures.

[95] Samoa. Leadership Report at 156

[96] Id.

[97] Sagapolutele, Fili. “Samoa Prison Releases 54 Bible School Defendants”. Pacific Islands Report.

[98] Sapolu, Honourable Chief Justice Patu F M. “Land and Titles Court Bench Book”. at 15

[99] Id.

[100] US Department of State. Samoa – Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

[101] Id.

[102] US Department of State. Samoa – Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

[103] Id.

[104] Id.

[105] Id.

[106] Id.

[107] Corin, Jennifer. “Resolving Land Disputes in Samoa”. Making Land Work – Volume Two:

[108] “Samoa Department Warns that Sale of Customary Land is Illegal”. Radio New Zealand International. 15 May 2002.

[109] Id.

[110] “Samoa’s Sili Hydro Plan Scuttled.” Radio New Zealand. 12 March 2004.

[111] Id.

[112] Id.

[113] Iati Iati. “Controversial Land Legislation in Samoa: Its not just about the land.”  

[114] Id at 2.

[115] Id.

[116] Iati Iati. “Controversial Land Legislation in Samoa: Its not just about the land.”  At 15.

[117] “Samoan Police Out in Force at Disputed Satapuala Village” Pacific Islands Report.

[118] Id.

[119] Id.

[120] Id.

[121] The villagers conceded 10 acres of land for the hospital on the Government’s agreement not to “disturb” or develop any other part. Id.

[122] Id.