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Vanuatu Courts System Information
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Pacific Courts - Vanuatu
· Hears civil and criminal appeals from the Supreme Court.
· Has the same power, authority and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
· May substitute its own judgment or opinion, but may not interfere with the exercise of a discretion unless it is manifestly wrong.
· Has unlimited jurisdiction to hear and determine civil and criminal proceedings.
· Has jurisdiction to hear questions concerning elections and similar matters; and it has jurisdiction to hear any grievances from citizens about emergency regulations made by the Council of Ministers.
· Has jurisdiction to hear civil and criminal appeals from a magistrate’s court.
· Has jurisdiction to hear appeals from island courts as to ownership of land. Its decision in such cases is final.
· Have jurisdiction to hear cases:
· where the amount claimed or the subject matter in dispute does not exceed vt1,000,000;
· between landlord and tenant where the amount claimed does not exceed vt 2,000,000;
· concerning claims for maintenance not exceeding vt 1,200,000;
· involving uncontested petitions for divorce or nullity of marriage; and
· that concern any criminal proceedings for an offence for which the maximum penalty does not exceed 2 years imprisonment.
· Have jurisdiction to hear appeals from civil decisions from Island Courts, except decisions as to ownership of land, where appeal is to the Supreme Court.
· Are specifically excluded from exercising jurisdiction in wardship, guardianship, interdiction, appointment of conseil judicare, adoption, civil status, succession, wills, bankruptcy, insolvency and liquidation.
· May only deal with:
· civil matters in which the Defendant is ordinarily resident within their territorial jurisdiction or in which the cause of action is within their boundaries;
· criminal matters in which the defendant is ordinarily resident within their territorial jurisdiction or in which the cause of action is within their boundaries;
· land cases when the land is within their territorial boundaries.
· If the above criteria is met island courts may determine:
· all claims over ownership of land;
· claims in contracts or tort where the amount claimed or the subject does not exceed vt 50,000;
· claims for compensation under provincial by-laws not exceeding vt 50,000; and
· claims for maintenance not limited in amount.
· Are specifically empowered to administer the customary law prevailing within their territorial jurisdiction so far as it is not in conflict with any written law and is not contrary to justice, morality and good order.