Constitution of the Republic of the Marshall Islands 1979, as amended to 1995


Citizenship and Nationality

(1) A person who, immediately before the effective date of this Constitution, was a citizen of the Trust Territory shall on that date become a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, if he or either of his parents has land rights.2
(2) A person born on or after the effective date of this Constitution shall be a citizen of the Republic if:
(a) at the date of his birth, either of his parents is a citizen of the Republic: or
(b) he is born in the Republic and is not at his birth entitled to be or become a citizen of any other country. … (Art. XI, Sec. 1)

Citizenship and Nationality

(1) Unless disqualified pursuant to paragraph (3) of this Section, any person who is not a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall Islands shall become a citizen by registration if, upon application, the High Court is satisfied either:
(a) that he has land rights; or
(b) that he has been resident in the Republic for not less than 3 years, and is the parent of a child who is a citizen of the Republic; or
(c) that he is of Marshallese descent and that in the interests of justice his application should be granted.
... (Art. XI, Sec. 2)

Citizenship and Nationality

The Nitijela may make provision by Act:
(a) for the acquisition of citizenship of the Republic of the Marshall Islands by registration in cases not falling within Section 2 of this Article;
(b) for the acquisition of citizenship of the Republic by naturalization;
(c) for depriving of citizenship of the Republic, consistently with Article II, any class of persons who are citizens of the Republic only by reason of provision made by Act pursuant to this Section;
(d) for depriving of citizenship of the Republic any class of persons who are citizens of the Republic and are or have become citizens of another country otherwise than by marriage:
(e) for the express renunciation by any person of citizenship of the Republic. (Art. XI, Sec. 3)

Jurisdiction and Access

Subject to this Constitution’s express limitations on the judicial power,
(a) the Attorney-General acting in the name of the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and all persons directly affected by an alleged violation of this Constitution, whether by private individuals or public officials, shall have standing to complain of such violation in a case or controversy that is the subject of an appropriate judicial proceeding;
(b) any court of general jurisdiction, resolving a case or controversy implicating a provision of this Constitution, shall have power to make all orders necessary and appropriate to secure full compliance with the provision and full enjoyment of its benefits;
… (Art. I, Sec. 4)

Jurisdiction and Access

(1) The Supreme Court shall be a superior court of record, shall consist of a Chief Justice and such number of other judges as may from time to time be prescribed by Act, and shall have appellate jurisdiction, as to both law and fact, with final authority to adjudicate all cases and controversies properly brought before it, in accord with this Constitution and other applicable laws of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
(2) An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court:

(b) as of right from any final decision of the High Court in the exercise of any appellate jurisdiction, but only if the High Court certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation or effect of any provision of the Constitution;

(3) The High Court may, on its own motion or on application of any party to the proceedings, remove to the Supreme Court any question arising as to the interpretation or effect of the Constitution in any proceedings of the High Court, other than proceedings set down for trial before a bench of 3 judges.
… (Art. VI, Sec. 2)

Jurisdiction and Access

(2) At any time when the judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Court number 4 or more, any judge of the High Court may convene a bench of 3 judges to decide any case in the High Court’s jurisdiction, if the convening judge has determined that the case involves either a substantial question of law as to the interpretation or effect of a provision of this Constitution or any other matter of public importance; and, if an insufficient number of judges of the High Court is available, then without prejudice to the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in relation to that case, the remaining members of the bench shall be judges of the Supreme Court.
… (Art. VI, Sec. 3)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

(1) All persons are equal under the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law.
(2) No law and no executive or judicial action shall, either expressly, or in its practical application, discriminate against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, place of birth, family status or descent.
(3) Nothing in this Section shall be deemed to preclude non-arbitrary preferences for citizens pursuant to law. (Art. II, Sec. 12)

Obligations of the State

The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. (Art. II, Sec. 17)

Obligations of the State

(1) No right secured by the Bill of Rights may be denied or abridged, whether directly through the imposition of force or penalty, or indirectly through the withholding of privilege or benefit.
… (Art. II, Sec. 18)

Judicial Protection

(2) Any provision of the Bill of Rights may be invoked either as a defense to a civil or criminal proceeding or as a basis for legal or equitable relief against any actual or threatened violation. (Art. II, Sec. 18)

Limitations and/or Derogations

The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. (Art. II, Sec. 17)

Limitations and/or Derogations

(1) No right secured by the Bill of Rights may be denied or abridged, whether directly through the imposition of force or penalty, or indirectly through the withholding of privilege or benefit.
… (Art. II, Sec. 18)

Political Rights and Association

(1) Every person has the right … to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; … (Art. II, Sec. 1)

Political Rights and Association

(2) Every person has the right to participate in the electoral process, whether as a voter or as a candidate for office, subject only to the qualifications prescribed in this Constitution and to election regulations which make it possible for all eligible persons to take part.
(3) In the administration of judicial and electoral processes, no fee may be imposed so as to prevent participation by a person unable to afford such fee. (Art. II, Sec. 14)

Political Rights and Association

(1) Elections of members of the Nitijela shall be conducted by secret ballot under a system of universal suffrage for all citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands who have attained the age of 18 years, and who are otherwise qualified to vote pursuant to this Section.
… (Art. IV, Sec. 3)

Head of State

(1) The President shall be the Head of State of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
(2) The President shall be elected by a majority of the total membership of the Nitijela and shall be appointed to office pursuant to paragraph (2) of Section 4 of this Article.
… (Art. V, Sec. 3)

Government

(1) The executive authority of the Republic of the Marshall Islands shall be vested in the Cabinet, whose members are collectively responsible to the Nitijela.
… (Art. V, Sec. 1)

Government

(1) The Cabinet shall consist of the President (who shall be a member of the Nitijela) and the other members of the Nitijela who are appointed as Ministers pursuant to this Article.
… (Art. V, Sec. 2)

Government

(1) As soon as practicable after his election to that office, the President elect shall nominate to the Speaker for appointment as Ministers not less than 6 nor more than 10 other members of the Nitijela who have consented to the nomination.
(2) Upon receiving the nominations made by the President elect under this Section, the Speaker shall, by instrument signed by him, appoint to office, as members of the Cabinet, the President elect and the Ministers so nominated.
… (Art. V, Sec. 4)

Legislature

(1) The legislative power of the Republic of the Marshall Islands shall be vested in the Nitijela and shall be exercised by Act.
… (Art. IV, Sec. 1)

Legislature

(1) Every qualified voter who has attained the age of 21 years is qualified to be a candidate for election as a member of the Nitijela.
(2) Any person who is qualified to be a candidate under paragraph (1) of this Section shall have the right to be a candidate in any electoral district in which he is entitled to vote, or unless otherwise provided by Act, in any other electoral district:
Provided that no person may, at any election, be a candidate in more than one electoral district. (Art. IV, Sec. 4)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

(3) The jurisdiction of the Traditional Rights Court shall be limited to the determination of questions relating to titles or to land rights or to other legal interests depending wholly or partly on customary law and traditional practice in the Republic of the Marshall Island.
… (Art. VI, Sec. 4)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

(1) Nothing in Article II shall be construed to invalidate the customary law or any traditional practice concerning land tenure or any related matter in any part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, including, where applicable, the rights and obligations of the Iroijlaplap, Iroijedrik, Alap and Dri Jerbal.
(2) Without prejudice to the continued application of the customary law pursuant to Section 1 of Article XIII, and subject to the customary law or to any traditional practice in any part of the Republic, it shall not be lawful or competent for any person having any right in any land in the Republic, under the customary law or any traditional practice to make any alienation or disposition of that land, whether by way of sale, mortgage, lease, license or otherwise, without the approval of the Iroijlaplap, Iroijedrik where necessary, Alap and the Senior Dri Jerbal of such land, who shall be deemed to represent all persons having an interest in that land.
… (Art. X, Sec. 1)

Protection from Violence

(1) No person shall be held in slavery or involuntary servitude, nor shall any person be required to perform forced or compulsory labor.
… (Art. II, Sec. 2)

Protection from Violence

(3) No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman and degrading treatment, to cruel and unusual punishment, or to excessive fines or deprivations. (Art. II, Sec. 6)

Public Institutions and Services

The Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands recognizes the right of the people to health care, Education, and legal services and the obligation to take every step reasonable and necessary to provide these services. (Art. II, Sec. 15)

Status of the Constitution

(1) This Constitution shall be the supreme law of the Republic of the Marshall Islands; and all judges and other public officers shall be bound thereby.
(2) No legislative or executive instrument and no decision of any court or other government agency made on or after the effective date of this Constitution shall have the force of law in the Republic unless it has been made pursuant to this Constitution. (Art. I, Sec. 1)

Status of the Constitution

(1) Any existing law and any law made on or after the effective date of this Constitution, which is inconsistent with this Constitution, shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
(2) Any other action taken by any person or body on or after the effective date of this Constitution, which is inconsistent with this Constitution, shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be unlawful. (Art. I, Sec. 2)

Status of the Constitution

(1) Subject to this Constitution:
(a) the existing law shall, until repealed or revoked, and subject to any amendment thereof, continue in force on and after the effective date of this Constitution;
(b) all rights, obligations and liabilities arising under the existing law shall continue to exist on and after the effective date of this Constitution and shall be recognized, exercised and enforced accordingly.
… (Art. XIII, Sec. 1)

Status of International Law

(4) No treaty or other international agreement which is finally accepted by or on behalf of the Republic on or after the effective date of this Constitution shall, of itself, have the force of law in the Republic. (Art. V, Sec. 1)

Customary Law

(1) There shall be a Council of Iroij of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

(3) If, in any district, a person or group of persons becomes recognized, pursuant to the customary law or to any traditional practice, as having rights and obligations analogous to those of Iroijlaplap, that person, or a member of that group nominated by the group, shall be deemed to be eligible to be a member of the Council of Iroij as though he were an Iroijlaplap.

(5) If, in the case of any district, there is for any reason no person eligible to be a member of the Council of Iroij in accordance with paragraphs (2) or (3) of this Section, the Council of Iroij shall as soon as practicable proceed, by resolution, to appoint as a member of the Council a person who, in the opinion of the Council, having regard to the customary law and any traditional practice, is qualified by reason of his family ties to a person who, but for that reason, would have been eligible to be a member of the Council from that district.
… (Art. III, Sec. 1)

Customary Law

The Council of Iroij shall have the following functions:
(a) the Council may consider any matter of concern to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and it may express its opinion thereon to the Cabinet;
(b) the Council may request, in accordance with Section 3 of this Article, the reconsideration of any Bill affecting the customary law, or any traditional practice, or land tenure, or any related matter, which has been adopted oil third reading by the Nitijela;
(c) the Council shall have such other functions as may be conferred on it by or pursuant to Act. (Art. III, Sec. 2)

Customary Law

(1) The Traditional Rights Court shall be a court of record; shall consist of panels of 3 or more judges selected so as to include a fair representation of all classes of land rights, including, where applicable, the Iroijiaplap, Iroijedrik, Alap and Dri Jerbal; and shall sit at such times and places and be chosen on such a geographical basis, as to ensure fair and knowledgeable exercise of the jurisdiction conferred by this Section.
(2) The size, membership and procedures of the Traditional Rights Court shall be consistent with paragraph (1) of this Section, and shall be determined by the High Court unless and until the Nitijela makes provision for those matters by Act.
(3) The jurisdiction of the Traditional Rights Court shall be limited to the determination of questions relating to titles or to land rights or to other legal interests depending wholly or partly on customary law and traditional practice in the Republic of the Marshall Island.
(4) The jurisdiction of the Traditional Rights Court may be invoked as of right upon application by a party to a pending judicial proceeding; but only if the court in which such proceeding is pending certifies that a substantial question has arisen within the jurisdiction of the Traditional Rights Court.
(5) When a question has been certified to the Traditional Rights Court for its determination under paragraph (4), its resolution of the question shall be given substantial weight in the certifying court’s disposition of the legal controversy before it; but shall not be deemed binding unless the certifying court concludes that justice so requires. (Art. VI, Sec. 4)

Customary Law

(1) Nothing in Article II3 shall be construed to invalidate the customary law4or any traditional practice concerning land tenure or any related matter in any part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, including, where applicable, the rights and obligations of the Iroijlaplap, Iroijedrik, Alap and Dri Jerbal.
(2) Without prejudice to the continued application of the customary law pursuant to Section 1 of Article XIII, and subject to the customary law or to any traditional practice in any part of the Republic, it shall not be lawful or competent for any person having any right in any land in the Republic, under the customary law or any traditional practice to make any alienation or disposition of that land, whether by way of sale, mortgage, lease, license or otherwise, without the approval of the Iroijlaplap, Iroijedrik where necessary, Alap and the Senior Dri Jerbal of such land, who shall be deemed to represent all persons having an interest in that land.
(3) Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed so as to preclude its application to every place within the traditional boundaries of the archipelago of the Republic. (Art. X, Sec. 1)

Customary Law

(1) In the exercise of its legislative functions, it shall be the responsibility of the Nitijela, whenever and to the extent considered appropriate, to declare, by Act, the customary law in the Republic of the Marshall Islands or in any part thereof. The customary law so declared may include any provisions which, in the opinion of the Nitijela, are necessary or desirable to supplement the established rules of customary law or to take account of any traditional practice.
(2) This Section shall not be construed to authorize the making of any law that would defeat an otherwise valid claim under Article II.5
(3) The Nitijela shall not proceed further than the first reading of any Bill or amendment to a Bill which, in the opinion of the Speaker, makes provision for any declaration pursuant to paragraph (1) of this Section unless a joint committee of the Council of Iroij and the Nitijela has been afforded a reasonable opportunity to make a report on the matters dealt within that Bill or amendment, and any such report has been published. (Art. X, Sec. 2)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

(1) A person who, immediately before the effective date of this Constitution, was a citizen of the Trust Territory shall on that date become a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, if he or either of his parents has land rights.2
(2) A person born on or after the effective date of this Constitution shall be a citizen of the Republic if:
(a) at the date of his birth, either of his parents is a citizen of the Republic: or
(b) he is born in the Republic and is not at his birth entitled to be or become a citizen of any other country. … (Art. XI, Sec. 1)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

(1) Unless disqualified pursuant to paragraph (3) of this Section, any person who is not a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall Islands shall become a citizen by registration if, upon application, the High Court is satisfied either:
(a) that he has land rights; or
(b) that he has been resident in the Republic for not less than 3 years, and is the parent of a child who is a citizen of the Republic; or
(c) that he is of Marshallese descent and that in the interests of justice his application should be granted.
... (Art. XI, Sec. 2)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

The Nitijela may make provision by Act:
(a) for the acquisition of citizenship of the Republic of the Marshall Islands by registration in cases not falling within Section 2 of this Article;
(b) for the acquisition of citizenship of the Republic by naturalization;
(c) for depriving of citizenship of the Republic, consistently with Article II, any class of persons who are citizens of the Republic only by reason of provision made by Act pursuant to this Section;
(d) for depriving of citizenship of the Republic any class of persons who are citizens of the Republic and are or have become citizens of another country otherwise than by marriage:
(e) for the express renunciation by any person of citizenship of the Republic. (Art. XI, Sec. 3)

Jurisdiction and Access

English

Subject to this Constitution’s express limitations on the judicial power,
(a) the Attorney-General acting in the name of the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and all persons directly affected by an alleged violation of this Constitution, whether by private individuals or public officials, shall have standing to complain of such violation in a case or controversy that is the subject of an appropriate judicial proceeding;
(b) any court of general jurisdiction, resolving a case or controversy implicating a provision of this Constitution, shall have power to make all orders necessary and appropriate to secure full compliance with the provision and full enjoyment of its benefits;
… (Art. I, Sec. 4)

Jurisdiction and Access

English

(1) The Supreme Court shall be a superior court of record, shall consist of a Chief Justice and such number of other judges as may from time to time be prescribed by Act, and shall have appellate jurisdiction, as to both law and fact, with final authority to adjudicate all cases and controversies properly brought before it, in accord with this Constitution and other applicable laws of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
(2) An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court:

(b) as of right from any final decision of the High Court in the exercise of any appellate jurisdiction, but only if the High Court certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation or effect of any provision of the Constitution;

(3) The High Court may, on its own motion or on application of any party to the proceedings, remove to the Supreme Court any question arising as to the interpretation or effect of the Constitution in any proceedings of the High Court, other than proceedings set down for trial before a bench of 3 judges.
… (Art. VI, Sec. 2)

Jurisdiction and Access

English

(2) At any time when the judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Court number 4 or more, any judge of the High Court may convene a bench of 3 judges to decide any case in the High Court’s jurisdiction, if the convening judge has determined that the case involves either a substantial question of law as to the interpretation or effect of a provision of this Constitution or any other matter of public importance; and, if an insufficient number of judges of the High Court is available, then without prejudice to the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in relation to that case, the remaining members of the bench shall be judges of the Supreme Court.
… (Art. VI, Sec. 3)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

(1) All persons are equal under the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law.
(2) No law and no executive or judicial action shall, either expressly, or in its practical application, discriminate against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, place of birth, family status or descent.
(3) Nothing in this Section shall be deemed to preclude non-arbitrary preferences for citizens pursuant to law. (Art. II, Sec. 12)

Obligations of the State

English

The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. (Art. II, Sec. 17)

Obligations of the State

English

(1) No right secured by the Bill of Rights may be denied or abridged, whether directly through the imposition of force or penalty, or indirectly through the withholding of privilege or benefit.
… (Art. II, Sec. 18)

Judicial Protection

English

(2) Any provision of the Bill of Rights may be invoked either as a defense to a civil or criminal proceeding or as a basis for legal or equitable relief against any actual or threatened violation. (Art. II, Sec. 18)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. (Art. II, Sec. 17)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

(1) No right secured by the Bill of Rights may be denied or abridged, whether directly through the imposition of force or penalty, or indirectly through the withholding of privilege or benefit.
… (Art. II, Sec. 18)

Political Rights and Association

English

(1) Every person has the right … to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; … (Art. II, Sec. 1)

Political Rights and Association

English

(2) Every person has the right to participate in the electoral process, whether as a voter or as a candidate for office, subject only to the qualifications prescribed in this Constitution and to election regulations which make it possible for all eligible persons to take part.
(3) In the administration of judicial and electoral processes, no fee may be imposed so as to prevent participation by a person unable to afford such fee. (Art. II, Sec. 14)

Political Rights and Association

English

(1) Elections of members of the Nitijela shall be conducted by secret ballot under a system of universal suffrage for all citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands who have attained the age of 18 years, and who are otherwise qualified to vote pursuant to this Section.
… (Art. IV, Sec. 3)

Head of State

English

(1) The President shall be the Head of State of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
(2) The President shall be elected by a majority of the total membership of the Nitijela and shall be appointed to office pursuant to paragraph (2) of Section 4 of this Article.
… (Art. V, Sec. 3)

Government

English

(1) The executive authority of the Republic of the Marshall Islands shall be vested in the Cabinet, whose members are collectively responsible to the Nitijela.
… (Art. V, Sec. 1)

Government

English

(1) The Cabinet shall consist of the President (who shall be a member of the Nitijela) and the other members of the Nitijela who are appointed as Ministers pursuant to this Article.
… (Art. V, Sec. 2)

Government

English

(1) As soon as practicable after his election to that office, the President elect shall nominate to the Speaker for appointment as Ministers not less than 6 nor more than 10 other members of the Nitijela who have consented to the nomination.
(2) Upon receiving the nominations made by the President elect under this Section, the Speaker shall, by instrument signed by him, appoint to office, as members of the Cabinet, the President elect and the Ministers so nominated.
… (Art. V, Sec. 4)

Legislature

English

(1) The legislative power of the Republic of the Marshall Islands shall be vested in the Nitijela and shall be exercised by Act.
… (Art. IV, Sec. 1)

Legislature

English

(1) Every qualified voter who has attained the age of 21 years is qualified to be a candidate for election as a member of the Nitijela.
(2) Any person who is qualified to be a candidate under paragraph (1) of this Section shall have the right to be a candidate in any electoral district in which he is entitled to vote, or unless otherwise provided by Act, in any other electoral district:
Provided that no person may, at any election, be a candidate in more than one electoral district. (Art. IV, Sec. 4)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

(3) The jurisdiction of the Traditional Rights Court shall be limited to the determination of questions relating to titles or to land rights or to other legal interests depending wholly or partly on customary law and traditional practice in the Republic of the Marshall Island.
… (Art. VI, Sec. 4)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

(1) Nothing in Article II shall be construed to invalidate the customary law or any traditional practice concerning land tenure or any related matter in any part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, including, where applicable, the rights and obligations of the Iroijlaplap, Iroijedrik, Alap and Dri Jerbal.
(2) Without prejudice to the continued application of the customary law pursuant to Section 1 of Article XIII, and subject to the customary law or to any traditional practice in any part of the Republic, it shall not be lawful or competent for any person having any right in any land in the Republic, under the customary law or any traditional practice to make any alienation or disposition of that land, whether by way of sale, mortgage, lease, license or otherwise, without the approval of the Iroijlaplap, Iroijedrik where necessary, Alap and the Senior Dri Jerbal of such land, who shall be deemed to represent all persons having an interest in that land.
… (Art. X, Sec. 1)

Protection from Violence

English

(1) No person shall be held in slavery or involuntary servitude, nor shall any person be required to perform forced or compulsory labor.
… (Art. II, Sec. 2)

Protection from Violence

English

(3) No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman and degrading treatment, to cruel and unusual punishment, or to excessive fines or deprivations. (Art. II, Sec. 6)

Public Institutions and Services

English

The Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands recognizes the right of the people to health care, Education, and legal services and the obligation to take every step reasonable and necessary to provide these services. (Art. II, Sec. 15)

Status of the Constitution

English

(1) This Constitution shall be the supreme law of the Republic of the Marshall Islands; and all judges and other public officers shall be bound thereby.
(2) No legislative or executive instrument and no decision of any court or other government agency made on or after the effective date of this Constitution shall have the force of law in the Republic unless it has been made pursuant to this Constitution. (Art. I, Sec. 1)

Status of the Constitution

English

(1) Any existing law and any law made on or after the effective date of this Constitution, which is inconsistent with this Constitution, shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
(2) Any other action taken by any person or body on or after the effective date of this Constitution, which is inconsistent with this Constitution, shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be unlawful. (Art. I, Sec. 2)

Status of the Constitution

English

(1) Subject to this Constitution:
(a) the existing law shall, until repealed or revoked, and subject to any amendment thereof, continue in force on and after the effective date of this Constitution;
(b) all rights, obligations and liabilities arising under the existing law shall continue to exist on and after the effective date of this Constitution and shall be recognized, exercised and enforced accordingly.
… (Art. XIII, Sec. 1)

Status of International Law

English

(4) No treaty or other international agreement which is finally accepted by or on behalf of the Republic on or after the effective date of this Constitution shall, of itself, have the force of law in the Republic. (Art. V, Sec. 1)

Customary Law

English

(1) There shall be a Council of Iroij of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

(3) If, in any district, a person or group of persons becomes recognized, pursuant to the customary law or to any traditional practice, as having rights and obligations analogous to those of Iroijlaplap, that person, or a member of that group nominated by the group, shall be deemed to be eligible to be a member of the Council of Iroij as though he were an Iroijlaplap.

(5) If, in the case of any district, there is for any reason no person eligible to be a member of the Council of Iroij in accordance with paragraphs (2) or (3) of this Section, the Council of Iroij shall as soon as practicable proceed, by resolution, to appoint as a member of the Council a person who, in the opinion of the Council, having regard to the customary law and any traditional practice, is qualified by reason of his family ties to a person who, but for that reason, would have been eligible to be a member of the Council from that district.
… (Art. III, Sec. 1)

Customary Law

English

The Council of Iroij shall have the following functions:
(a) the Council may consider any matter of concern to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and it may express its opinion thereon to the Cabinet;
(b) the Council may request, in accordance with Section 3 of this Article, the reconsideration of any Bill affecting the customary law, or any traditional practice, or land tenure, or any related matter, which has been adopted oil third reading by the Nitijela;
(c) the Council shall have such other functions as may be conferred on it by or pursuant to Act. (Art. III, Sec. 2)

Customary Law

English

(1) The Traditional Rights Court shall be a court of record; shall consist of panels of 3 or more judges selected so as to include a fair representation of all classes of land rights, including, where applicable, the Iroijiaplap, Iroijedrik, Alap and Dri Jerbal; and shall sit at such times and places and be chosen on such a geographical basis, as to ensure fair and knowledgeable exercise of the jurisdiction conferred by this Section.
(2) The size, membership and procedures of the Traditional Rights Court shall be consistent with paragraph (1) of this Section, and shall be determined by the High Court unless and until the Nitijela makes provision for those matters by Act.
(3) The jurisdiction of the Traditional Rights Court shall be limited to the determination of questions relating to titles or to land rights or to other legal interests depending wholly or partly on customary law and traditional practice in the Republic of the Marshall Island.
(4) The jurisdiction of the Traditional Rights Court may be invoked as of right upon application by a party to a pending judicial proceeding; but only if the court in which such proceeding is pending certifies that a substantial question has arisen within the jurisdiction of the Traditional Rights Court.
(5) When a question has been certified to the Traditional Rights Court for its determination under paragraph (4), its resolution of the question shall be given substantial weight in the certifying court’s disposition of the legal controversy before it; but shall not be deemed binding unless the certifying court concludes that justice so requires. (Art. VI, Sec. 4)

Customary Law

English

(1) Nothing in Article II3 shall be construed to invalidate the customary law4or any traditional practice concerning land tenure or any related matter in any part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, including, where applicable, the rights and obligations of the Iroijlaplap, Iroijedrik, Alap and Dri Jerbal.
(2) Without prejudice to the continued application of the customary law pursuant to Section 1 of Article XIII, and subject to the customary law or to any traditional practice in any part of the Republic, it shall not be lawful or competent for any person having any right in any land in the Republic, under the customary law or any traditional practice to make any alienation or disposition of that land, whether by way of sale, mortgage, lease, license or otherwise, without the approval of the Iroijlaplap, Iroijedrik where necessary, Alap and the Senior Dri Jerbal of such land, who shall be deemed to represent all persons having an interest in that land.
(3) Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed so as to preclude its application to every place within the traditional boundaries of the archipelago of the Republic. (Art. X, Sec. 1)

Customary Law

English

(1) In the exercise of its legislative functions, it shall be the responsibility of the Nitijela, whenever and to the extent considered appropriate, to declare, by Act, the customary law in the Republic of the Marshall Islands or in any part thereof. The customary law so declared may include any provisions which, in the opinion of the Nitijela, are necessary or desirable to supplement the established rules of customary law or to take account of any traditional practice.
(2) This Section shall not be construed to authorize the making of any law that would defeat an otherwise valid claim under Article II.5
(3) The Nitijela shall not proceed further than the first reading of any Bill or amendment to a Bill which, in the opinion of the Speaker, makes provision for any declaration pursuant to paragraph (1) of this Section unless a joint committee of the Council of Iroij and the Nitijela has been afforded a reasonable opportunity to make a report on the matters dealt within that Bill or amendment, and any such report has been published. (Art. X, Sec. 2)

1

Links to all sites last visited 2 March 2016

2

“‘Land rights’ mean any right in any land in the Republic under the customary law or any traditional practice” (Art. XIV, Sec. 1).

3,4

3 - Article II on Bill of Rights.
4 - According to Art. XIV, Sec. 1: “In this Constitution, unless the context otherwise requires: … 'Customary law' means any custom having the force of law in the Republic of the Marshall Islands; and includes any Act declaring the customary law; …”

5

Article II on Bill of Rights.