Criminal Jurisdiction

A crime is the commission of an act that is forbidden by Statute or the omission of an act that is require by Statute.

There are different categories of crime, and the category of crime determines which Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter.

Criminal prosecutions are generally brought by the State, represented by the Police, against a person(s) who is alleged to have committed an offence.

The Crime Act 1969 (and associated admendments) is the main piece of legislation which sets out those acts or omissions that are criminal offences in the Cook Islands.

Other legislation in the Cook Islands also establishes criminal offences. For example:

  • the Transport Act 1966;
  • the Narcotics Act 1965;
  • the Cook Islands Arms Ordinance 1954.


For a detailed explanation of the Cook Islands Court sytem please refer to the Pacific Judicial Development Program.