Despite the great difficulty in unifying laws based on the very different English and French traditions, Vanuatu has sought to establish a single system based on British criminal procedure and the French penal code. The constitution establishes a Supreme Court, with a chief justice and three other judges, as well as an appeals court. Village and island courts have jurisdiction over customary and other matters.
The judiciary is independent of the executive and free from military influence. The constitution guarantees a range of procedural due process protections including the presumption of innocence, fair public trial, habeas corpus, and the prohibition against double jeopardy.