This collection of eight single-authored papers published between 2008 and 2012, provides detailed and critical insight into land issues in the Pacific island country of the Republic of Vanuatu. Developed largely from conference papers delivered to international audiences, these publications make a novel and significant contribution to the prior knowledge base in a number of ways. Firstly, the research behind these papers has combined physical proximity to the subject matter – through being based in Vanuatu for several years, with access to a range of legal and other materials as well as personal insights, with a broader intellectual expertise in the law of property and trusts as introduced into the region. A combination of doctrinal and empirical research has made it possible to give a specifically focussed law in context and law in practice perspective, while not losing sight of the inter-relationship of law and society. In this way the existing knowledge base founded on anthropological and ethnological studies has been given a further and contemporary, legal dimension. Secondly, the desire to reach a wider audience than the regional or local, has meant that these publications have engaged Vanuatu as a case-study with broader themes, sometimes starting from the local and exploring outwards and sometimes starting from the global and narrowing in on Vanuatu as a concluding focus. While recognising all that makes Vanuatu unique, the contribution that this collection makes is to bring this island study from the particular to the general, in from the margins or as part of a removed and rather isolated area of study, towards the mainstream. Thirdly, these publications articulate land developments at a crucial moment. The first decade of the twenty-first century, has been a time of increased public awareness of land issues in Vanuatu and in the Pacific region more generally, and a time of increased donor intervention in land and law related activities. That this research and the related research that informs it, is integral to this process has been evidenced by cross referencing to some of the work and other indicators of esteem by aid donors, inter-state agencies and other academics. Land remains a site of contestation in Vanuatu. The critical analysis of present issues, against the historical context of colonial rule and its subsequent influence; the introduction of foreign laws and institutions and the continuing importance of unwritten customary law, exposes many of the challenges that are encountered in trying to frame a way forward and engages with controversies surrounding land policy, land law and the management of this most fundamental resource.
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2013|