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Papua New Guinea


Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea

Latest Version in WIPO Lex
Year of Version 1975 Dates Entry into force: September 16, 1975 Adopted: August 15, 1975 Type of Text Constitution/Basic Law Subject Matter Other Notes The Constitution of Papua New Guinea was adopted by the Constituent Assembly (a constitutional convention of the newly independent 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 operates, 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 does not contain provisions that specifically refer to intellectual property rights. However, the preamble lists the preservation of traditional villages and communities as a national goal and encourages ‘active steps to be taken to improve their cultural, social, economic and ethical quality.’ (See Preamble, ‘National Goals and Directive Principles’, 5. Papua New Guinean ways, paragraph (4)).

The text of the Constitution of Papua New Guinea is reproduced from the website of the PacII (© http://www.paclii.org/countries/pg.html).

Available Texts Main text(s) Main text(s) English Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea PDF HTML

WIPO Lex No. PG011