World Intellectual Property Organization

Papua New Guinea

Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea

Year of Version:1975
Date of Entry into Force:September 16, 1975
Date of Text (Adopted):August 15, 1975
Type of Text:Constitution / Basic Law
Subject Matter:Other
The Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, located in the South West Pacific Ocean, in a region defined since the early 19th century as Melanesia. The capital is Port Moresby. After being ruled by three external powers since 1884 (Germany, UK and Australia), PNG achieved its independence from Australia on September 16, 1975. It chose to retain the monarchy and remain a realm of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of PNG. Papua New Guinea was admitted to membership in the United Nations on 10 October 1975.

The Constitution of Papua New Guinea was adopted by the Constituent Assembly (a constitutional convention of the newly independant state) on 15 August 1975, which came into effect on 15 September 1975 and established Papua New Guinea a self-governing country.

The Constitution establishes the law under which the government of PNG orperates, provides for the establishment of the three arms of government, that is, the Legislative, Judiciary and the Executive and guarantees the fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens.
Papua New Guinea has a unicameral National Parliament which has 109 seats, of which 20 are occupied by the governors of the 19 provinces and the National Capital District of Port Moresby (NCD). All of the members serve a five-year term and are elected for five year terms by universal suffrage.
The executive branch consists of the Queen as the Head of State, who is represented by the Governor-General and the Prime Minister, who heads the Cabinet (National Executive Council) or the Head of the Government.
The judicial branch of government consists of the Supreme Court, National Court, and local and village courts form the independent justice system.

The unicameral Parliament enacts legislation which is introduced by the executive government to the legislature, debated and if passed, becomes the law when it receives the Royal Assent by the Governor General. The Constitution defines the 'underlying law', that is the common law of Papua New Guinea, includes the Constitution and the organic laws and acts of the National Parliament, customary law derived from the regional customs of the country, and the common law of England and Australia as it existed at the date of Papua New Guinea's independence on 16 September 1975.

The Constitution contains specific provisions on the protection of intellectual property rights which is guaranteed in Section 290. 'Functions and Powers available to the Bougainville Government' , Subsection 290 (2.zb) 'Intellectual Property'.
The Preamble 5 (4) of the Constitution guarantees sui generis rights for the respect and full protection of traditional cultural expressions and traditional knowledge, which expresses the wish for 'traditional villages and communities to remain a viable units of Papua New Guinea society, and for active steps to be taken in their preservation'.
Available Texts: 

Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, Complete document (pdf) [2089 KB] Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, Complete document (htm) [1842 KB] (Version with Automatic Translation Tool)

WIPO Lex No.:PG011

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