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Land law and policy in Papua New Guinea

Mugambwa, J.T. and Amankwah, H.A. (2002) Land law and policy in Papua New Guinea. Cavendish, London.

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This is the second edition of a book that was first published in 1996 on issues relating to land law and policy in Papua New Guinea. It marked the first substantive statement on the subject since Professor Rudi James' work in land law and policy in Papua New Guinea, which was published by the Law Reform Commission in 1985. The authors of the book are eminently qualified to write on the subject, a subject which is so close to hearts of all Papua New Guineans. Both have taught at the former Faculty of Law at the University of Papua New Guinea. The second edition of this book marks both an important contribution to the availability of textbooks on Papua New Guinea law and the authors' continuing interest in the interplay of land law principles, use and development of land, and government policies on land.

This edition is particularly significant because it complements the authors' most recent publication titled Land Law in Papua New Guinea; a publication which was one of a series prepared under the auspices of the AusAID funded Access to Laws project. They wrote that book with Mr George Muroa, Senior Lecturer at the School of Law, University of Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea has continued a process of examining its laws, most of which have been introduced from England and Australia, over the years to make them more appropriate to the requirements of the country as it develops and changes. Some of these laws have received severe criticism from lawyers, academics, politicians and ordinary people. The inclusion in this book of articles and other related commentaries which indicate a divergence of views on different aspects of land law by persons other than the authors to augment the text confirm, to some extent, this continuing process. Most major legal principles regarding land law are technical and therefore difficult to understand, unless one is trained to understand and appreciate their significance. While some of the criticisms that have been made against land law principles are valid, others owe their origins to a genuine lack of an understanding of these complex principles.

However, a lack of written materials on the subject only compounds the problem. This edition addresses this and the related wider issue of accessibility to written materials on land law in this country in a concise, authoritative and accurate manner. I especially commend them for the additional material they have included in this edition, material which they were not able to include in the first edition.

The first edition was sold out almost immediately after it was released. This probably explains why the Michael Somare Library of the University of Papua New Guinea does not have a copy of that edition. I am sure that the second edition will, as it truly deserves, receive similar acclaim and popularity. And, this time, the Michael Somare Library will be at the front of the race to get an appropriate number of copies.

Publication Type: Book
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Law
Publisher: Cavendish
Copyright: The Authors
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