The Condominium divided the New Hebrides into two separate communities — one Anglophone and one Francophone. This divide continues even after independence, with schools either teaching in one language or the other, and between different political parties.
The French and British governments were called residencies, each headed by a resident appointed by the metropolitan government. The residency structure emphasized dualism to the point of near absurdity - both consisted of an equal number of French and British representatives, bureaucrats and administrators. Every member of one residency always had an exact mirror opposite number on the other side he could consult with. The symmetry between the two residencies was almost perfect.
The joint government consisted of both local and European officials. It had jurisdiction over the postal service, public radio station, public works, infrastructure, and censuses, among other things. The two main cities of Santo and Port Vila also had city councils, but these did not have a great deal of authority.
Local people could choose whether to be tried under the British common law or the French civil law. Visitors could choose which immigration rules to enter under. Nationals of one country could set up corporations under the laws of the other. In addition to these two legal systems, a third Native Court existed to handle cases involving Melanesian customary law. Oddly, the presiding judge of the Native Court was appointed by the King of Spain, not by the British or the French.
There were two prison systems to complement the two court systems. The police force was technically unified but consisted of two chiefs and two equal groups of officers wearing two different uniforms. Each group alternated duties and assignments.
Language was a serious barrier to the operation of this naturally inefficient system, as all documents had to be translated once to be understood by one side, then the response translated again to be understood by the other, though Bislama creole represented an informal bridge between the British and the French camps.