Topic: Designing a new constitution after thirty five years of independence: A comparative analysis of Solomon Islands constitutions and history

Presenter: Paul Mae - PhD Candidate, TC Beirne School of Law

A lot of countries in South Pacific are facing numerous constitutional dilemmas today. These constitutional dilemmas have affected the stability of governments, delivery of services to the people, and the level of development in these island states. Solomon Islands is one of the island countries that is currently being facing such constitutional constraints. Its political history of instability and local rivalry has led national leaders to believe that the Westminster system has failed and that federalism offers the best solution. This Thesis will do a comparative study of the Constitution and the Draft Federal Constitution of Solomon Islands. It will focus on two key areas, participatory decision-making and the role of customary law and traditional institutions. These are two very important areas in the context of Solomon Islands. Solomon Islanders want to contribute to important decisions that affect their lives, and it is important that the Constitution provide an avenue for it. 

Similar sentiments are also given to customary law and traditional institutions. They form the basis of interaction in the rural areas, where an estimated eighty per cent of the Solomon Islands population is located. This Thesis combines the legal pluralism theory and development theory to analyse the solutions offered by the Draft Constitution, and to come up with alternatives for constitutional change or reform for Solomon Islands. These alternatives should be able to accommodate legal pluralism and promote participatory decision making. 

All welcome, please register by emailing Beth Williams.

Contact: Beth Williams, ph: (334) 69350, email:

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