Papua New Guinea's two most powerful legal orders - customary law and state law - undermine the other in criminal matters. This phenomenon, called legal dissonance, can help explain the low level of personal security found in many parts of the country. It is shown that a lack of coordination in the punishing of wrong behavior is both problematic for legal orders themselves and for those who are subject to such a legal phenomenon. Legal dissonance can lead to an activity being simultaneously advanced by one legal order and punished by the other, leading to injustice, and, perhaps more importantly, an undermining of each legal order's ability to deter wrongdoing.
Shaun Larcom is Lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is also a Bye Fellow at St. Edmund's College and Departmental Fellow at the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge. He has published in the Journal of Legal Pluralism and the Law and Development Review.
List of Illiustrations Acknowledgments Introduction: Papua New Guinea, Legal Pluralism, and Law and Economics Chapter 1. Customary Law and the State Criminal Law Chapter 2. Historical Overview of the State, Criminal Law and Customary Law Chapter 3. Empirical Study of the Sanction of Wrongs in the New Guinea Islands Chapter 4. Legal Dissonance in Papua New Guinea Chapter 5. Past Reforms that Failed Conclusion: Reforming the Prosecution Process Reference