Act of Constitution of Tonga

Year of Version:1988
Date of Text (Adopted):November 4, 1875
Type of Text:Constitution / Basic Law
Subject Matter:Other
The Tongan Constitution was enacted by King George Tupou I on November 4, 1875. The revised Constitution of 1988 incorporates all the amendments up to December 31, 1988.

Tonga is a constitutional monarchy in which the King exercises executive power through his Cabinet. The King is the Head of State and appoints the Prime Minister as the Head of Government.
Tonga has Unicameral Legislative Assembly, comprising the Cabinet (currently up to16 Ministers), 9 Nobles’ Representatives chosen by 33 Noble title holders, and 9 representatives elected by universal suffrage by Tongans aged 21 or over.
The legislative power is vested in both the executive government and the Legislative Assembly.
The judicial system in Tonga consists of the Court of Appeal (Privy Council), Supreme Court; Magistrates Court; Land Court. The Privy Council of the Kingdom of Tonga belongs both to the executive and judiciary branches of the government. Its main executive role is to advise the monarch on how to exercise his executive authority, while its main judiciary role is to serve as a supreme court.
The legal system in Tonga bases on the Acts of the Tongan Legislative Assembly; English statutes of general application; common law.

The Constitution does not contain provisions that specifically refer to copyrights and industrial property rights. However, Article 47 guarantees the protection to the National Flag of the Kingdom.
The Constitution guarantees all rights of property. It recognizes the sanctity of Royal property (Article 48 'Royal Property'). The right of everyone to own property and the right to enjoy the fruits of his labor are recognized in Article 1 'Declaration of Freedom, Part I 'Declaration of Right', providing in part: '...all men may use their lives and persons and time to acquire and possess property and to dispose of their labour and the fruit of their hands and to use their own property as they will...'. Furthermore, the protection of private property rights are also specified in Article 16 'Property search and seizure' and Article 18 'Taxation - Compensation to be paid for property taken'.
Available Texts: 

Act of Constitution of Tonga Act of Constitution of Tonga, Complete document (pdf) [138 KB] Act of Constitution of Tonga, Complete document (htm) [209 KB] (Version with Automatic Translation Tool)


Ko e Konisitutone 'O Tonga Fokotu'Ut'U 'O E Ngaahi Kupu Ko e Konisitutone 'O Tonga Fokotu'Ut'U 'O E Ngaahi Kupu, Complete document (pdf) [1377 KB]

WIPO Lex No.:TO009