Substantial justice

An anthropology of village courts in Papua New Guinea

Michael Goddard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook

24 Citations (Scopus)


Papua New Guinea's village court system was introduced in 1974, partly in an effort to overcome the legal, geographical, and social distance between village societies and the country's formal courts. There are now more than 1100 village courts all over PNG, hearing thousands of cases each week. This anthropological study is grounded in ethnographic research on three different village courts and the communities they serve. It also explores the colonial historical background to the establishment of the village court system, and the local and global processes influencing the efforts of village courts to deal with everyday disputes among grassroots Melanesians.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York, USA
PublisherBerghahn Books
Number of pages311
ISBN (Electronic)9781845459222
ISBN (Print)9781845455613
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


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