Pacific Law and Culture Conference

02 July 2018

8th Pacific Law and Culture Conference, 2-4 July 2018, School of Law, University of Canterbury, Christchurch

Conference aims

Hosted by the School of Law, the Pasifika Law Students’ Society and the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, the aims of the Pacific Law and Culture Conference are to increase understanding of Pacific legal issues and to strengthen relationships between Pacific legal scholars and students. The Conference provides a platform for emerging and established Pacific legal scholars to consider the critical question of how to make law operate effectively whilst remaining culturally appropriate to the Pacific.

Conference theme: Voices of the Pacific in a Globalised World

In 2018 the theme for the 8th Pacific Law and Culture Conference is Voices of the Pacific in a Globalised World.

This theme raises various questions including:

  • In an increasingly globalised legal world, what can be done to ensure that Indigenous Pacific voices and perspectives are heard locally, nationally and internationally?
  • How can issues of conflict between international law or state law on the one hand, and Pacific culture and/or customary laws on the other be resolved?
  • How can Pacific perspectives be incorporated into the laws of states with large Pacific diaspora?

Keynote speakers

Confirmed keynote speakers are:

  • Justice DV Fatiaki, Justice of the Supreme Court of Vanuatu. The Honourable Justice Daniel Fatiaki has been a Judge in the Supreme Court of Vanuatu since 2009. He is originally from Fiji, where he was formerly the Chief Justice. Justice Fatiaki studied at the University of South Pacific and obtained a law degree from the University of Auckland. He is admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Courts of New Zealand and Fiji. During his long career he has practiced law in New Zealand and Fiji, and served as Crown Counsel in the Director of Public Prosecutions Office in Fiji and as Chairman of the Fiji Law Reform Commission.
  • Teleiai Dr Lalotoa Mulitalo, Executive Director/CEO of the Samoa Law Reform Commission and author of Law Reform in Plural Societies (Springer, 2017).
  • Dr Claire Slatter, scholar and activist of Fiji. Recent publications include “The New Framework for Pacific Regionalism: Old Kava in a New Tanoa?” in Greg Fry and Sandra Tarte (eds) The New Pacific Diplomacy (ANU Press, Canberra, 2015).

Call for papers

We call for submission of abstracts for papers addressing the Conference theme. We especially welcome abstracts for papers relating, but not limited, to the following topics:

  • Responding to environmental challenges including climate change and natural disasters;
  • Freedom of speech and limitations on freedom of speech;
  • The relationship between (international) human rights and custom;
  • State dispute resolution and customary dispute resolution;
  • International and state governance, and its relationship with customary forms of governance;
  • Gender and sexuality in the Pacific;
  • Militarisation in and of the Pacific;
  • Neo-colonialism and the role of larger powers in the Pacific;
  • Addressing and overcoming international silence on West Papua;
  • The role of international law in the Pacific.

The conference organisers are committed to the development of young Pacific legal scholars and law students from around the Pacific region. Students and early career researchers are strongly encouraged to participate. There will be a prize for the best student paper and a prize for the best early career researcher paper.

For further details see the full‌ Pacific Law and Culture Conference call for papers (PDF, 76KB)

Paper abstracts will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so early submission of abstracts is encouraged.

Mooting competition

In addition to paper presentations, there will also be a student mooting competition between eight of the participating law schools. The law schools participating in the moot competition are University of Fiji, University of the South Pacific (Emalus campus), University of the South Pacific (Laucala campus), University of Auckland, University of Waikato, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Canterbury and University of Otago. More information on the moot competition will be provided directly to participating law schools.

Conference programme

Pacific Law and Culture Conference programme (PDF, 320KB)

Key dates

 April 2018  Conference registrations open
 27 April 2018  Call for Papers closes
 4 May 2018  Final date for confirmation of abstract acceptance
 11 June 2018  Early bird registration closes
 25 June 2018  Submission of written paper (to be considered for best paper awards)
 28 June 2018  Moot synopses due
 2-4 July 2018  Conference
 2019  Publication of special Conference issue of the Canterbury Law Review


Register Online here

Student Earlybird - until 11 June 2018

Student Late  - from 12 June 2018

Accommodation  - Rochester and Rutherford Hall
(single bedroom, shared bathroom)

per night
Professional Earlybird - until 11 June 2018

Professional Late - from 12 June 2018



Conference accommodation

 The Conference will be held at the University of Canterbury (Ilam). Accommodation options in the vicinity of the University include:

Note: If you wish to stay at Rochester and Rutherford Hall, this should be booked at the time you register for the Conference. Online Conference registration is now open. For all other accommodation options, please book directly with the relevant hotel or motel.

Conference venues

The Conference will primarily be held at the University’s new Rutherford Regional Science and Innovation Centre, located in the middle of UC’s Ilam campus. The preliminary rounds of the Moot competition will be held in the adjacent Engineering Core building. The Moot final will be held in the new Justice Precinct in the CBD (121 Tuam St). The Conference Dinner will be held at the College House Dining Hall (100 Waimairi Rd). The Conference Cultural Night will be held in St Teresa’s Church Hall (8 Puriri St). 

Conference sponsors

We are grateful for the support of the following organisations: New Zealand Law Foundation, Canterbury Law Review Trust, Bridgeside Chambers, College of Law, New Zealand Defence Force, Parry Field Lawyers, Institute of Professional Legal Studies and the College of Business and Law.         ‌

‌Further information

Further details about the Conference will be available here in due course. In the meantime, for more information, please contact:

Natalie Baird, Senior Lecturer

Elizabeth Macpherson, Lecturer

Emily Winter, Conference Administrator

Anatea Prince, President Pasifika Law Students’ Society

Curtis Fatiaki, Vice President Pasifika Law Students’ Society


UC students celebrate achievements at August Graduation

Congratulations to all our students who graduated on Tuesday with Qualifications from the UC Business School, the Faculty of Arts, Law, Engineering, ...

Ashlin Chandra and Richard Edmundson

Student on track for law career thanks to new scholarship

Former Te Aratai College student Ashlin Chandra is relishing her first year at university and being one step closer to her goal of becoming a lawyer ...