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The publicity "defect" of customary law, Volume 1
 
Author:Gauri, Varun; Country:World;
Date Stored:2010/06/24Document Date:2010/06/01
Document Type:Policy Research Working PaperSubTopics:Public Sector Corruption & Anticorruption Measures; Children and Youth; Parliamentary Government; Legal Products; Gender and Law
Language:EnglishMajor Sector:Education; Public Administration, Law, and Justice; Health and other social services
Rel. Proj ID:1W-Human Rights And Services For Poor People -- -- P092076;Region:The World Region
Report Number:WPS5349Sub Sectors:Health; Primary education; Law and justice
Collection Title:Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 5349TF No/Name:TF053666-BNPP-GOVERNANCE:; TF054260-TFESSD
Volume No:1  

Summary: This paper examines the extent to which dispute resolvers in customary law systems provide widely understandable justifications for their decisions. The paper first examines the liberal-democratic reasons for the importance of publicity, understood to be wide accessibility of legal justification, by reviewing the uses of publicity in Habermas’ and Rawls’ accounts of the rule of law. Taking examples from Sierra Leone, the paper then argues that customary law systems would benefit from making the reasons for local dispute resolution practices, such as "begging" from elders, witchcraft, and openness of hearings, more widely accessible. The paper concludes that although legal pluralism is usually taken to be an analytical concept, it may have a normative thrust as well, and that publicity standards would also apply to formal courts in developing countries, which are also typically "defective" along this dimension.

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