The integration of customs in the contemporary body of norms in New Caledonia

01 Jan 2014
01 Apr 2017

Now in the final mandate (2014-2018) of the Nouméa Accord of 5 May 1998, New Caledonia finds itself at a turning point in its history. Its exit from the Accord will involve a redefining of the institutional balances between the French state, the collectivity and the three provinces.
At the heart of the Accord, Kanak identity and its expression in daily life (customs and traditional values) must find a new place within New Caledonia’s contemporary legal system.
To achieve this, customary law (produced from the reception of Kanak customs by the jurisdictions and customary institutions), which is still unrecognised, must be updated so that it can be better understood both by institutional and social actors and by persons subject to trial.

The primary objective of the research is to create a glossary and database of customary law, which will allow access pour l’heure parcellaire to the way in which Kanak customs have been received over the past two decades on a case by case basis.

This inventory will allow us to identify the difficulties associated with receiving Kanak customs and to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the current methods. By comparing this appraisal with the existing normative integration tools, this research proposes to define customary law for New Caledonia (that is, the regulations that implement customs and which allow their normative integration). This will be the vehicle for a better reception of Kanak customs by the country’s contemporary normative body of norms, which is marked by cultural and, by extension, legal pluralism.

The project’s website is accessible from this link:

Scientific directors

  • Étienne CORNUT, Senior Lecturer and HDR (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches – France’s accreditation to supervise research) in private law, UNC, LARJE
  • Pascale DEUMIER, Professor, Lyon 3, Private law team