There are parallel and sometimes conflicting legal systems in Samoa: the state system and the local matai (chief) system. The state system being a relatively recent incarnation and the matai system being a traditional hierarchical structure used for many centuries. Both have laws (formal and informal), courts, judges and punishments.
Outside the capital city of Apia, the matai system reigns supreme. For many centuries it has maintained order in the rural villages. Samoans attribute their long history without internal conflict and widespread...Continue Reading >>