Consociationalism is seen as a useful tool in dealing with intractable ethnic, religious, linguistic and other tensions in deeply divided societies and is often preferred over federalism, partition, secession, assimilation or other forms of conflict management in such societies. This article examines the validity of many of the assumptions which underlie the concept of consociationalism by looking at the experience of its use in the Pacific island state of Fiji, which has had a long record of strife between the country’s two main ethnic groups, the indigenous Fijians and the Indo-Fijians. It argues that the consociational model – particularly one which is highly prescriptive and involves strong mandatory power-sharing – has certain structural shortcomings which make it unsuitable for adoption in societies (like Fiji) where the ethnic or other cleavages run deep. In such cases, says the author, the society concerned would do well to explore other options such as a looser form of power-sharing, proportional representation, or outright majoritarian rule but with strong minority protections. The article also examines the limitations of judicial intervention in the enforcement of consociational agreements.