Country Profile: Vanuatu

This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Republic of Vanuatu (Ripablik blong Vanuatu), based on research produced by the Library of Congress. Under Vanuatu's Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) has no legal status. 

Country Background

Vanuatu is an archipelago located in the South Pacific Ocean. The Pacific island nation is located 1090 miles east of Australia, and near New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Fiji. The capital of Vanuatu is Port-Vila, located on Efate Island. The official languages are Bislama, English, and French; over 100 native languages and dialects are also spoken in Vanuatu. The country's population in 2017 was approximately 282,814 people. Vanuatu is a predominantly Christian country, with about 82% of the population Christian.

Constitution & Legal Structure

Vanuatu is referred to as a parliamentary republic, in which sovereignty belongs to the people and the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. After declaring independence from Great Britain during the brief Coconut Wars, the current Constitution of Vanuatu was adopted in 1980, and was most recently amended in 1983. The system of government is based on principles of separation and checks and balances and has three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The legal system of Vanuatu is a mixed legal system of English common law, French law, and customary law.

Constitutional Status of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no constitutional status in Vanuatu.  

Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no official jurisdiction of operation in Vanuatu. 

Dominant School of Islamic Law

Vanuatu has no official school of Islamic law. 

Sources of Law for Legal Research

Official Publications

Unofficial Databases


For an extended list of legal resources for this country, see the Library of Congress’s Research Guide. The Constitution is available in the LOC Guide in its original language and at Constitute in English. For full versions of past constitutions, amendments, and related legislation, see HeinOnline World Constitutions Illustrated or Oxford Constitutions of the World [subscription required for each].