The Constitution of Kiribati

Year of Version:1979
Date of Entry into Force:July 12, 1979
Date of Text (Adopted):July 12, 1979
Type of Text:Constitution / Basic Law
Subject Matter:Other
Kiribati (an island nation in the western part of the Pacific Ocean) became independent from United Kingdom in 1979. The Constitution of 1979, the supreme law of the Republic of Kiribati was promulgated on July 12, 1979 and establishes Kiribati as a sovereign democratic republic.

The Constitution was amended in 1995 by Constitution (Amendment) Act 1995. It establishes the law under which the government of Kiribati operates, provides for the establishment of the three powers of government (Legislative, Judiciary and Executive) and guarantees the fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens.

Kiribati has a unicameral House of Parliament (Maneaba) of 45 members who serve 4-year terms. The Speaker for the legislature is elected by the Maneaba and is not a member of the Parliament. The executive branch consists of a president (te Beretitenti), a vice president and a cabinet. The President is both the Chief of State and Head of Government. The judicial system consists of the Court of Appeal, the High Court and Magistrates' Courts. The president makes all judicial appointments.

As Kiribati was a British colony until 1979, the British introduced the legal system of common law in the country, increasingly supplemented by local and customary law. Some legislation of England still has application in Kiribati. For example, the only patent legislation that exists in Kiribati is the law on 'Registration of UK Patent' and similarly the only trademark legislation is the law on 'Registration of United Kingdoms Trademarks'.

The Constitution does not contain any provision that specially recognizes and guarantees protection to intellectual property rights. However, Article 8, Chapter II of the Constitution prohibits the deprivation of property, which provides in part: “No property of any description shall be compulsorily taken possession of, and no interest in or right over property of any description shall be compulsorily acquired...'
Available Texts: 

The Constitution of Kiribati The Constitution of Kiribati, Complete document (pdf) [314 KB]

Related Legislation:

Is amended by

WIPO Lex No.:KI001