Legal Pluralism and International Development Agencies: State Building or Legal Reform

Warwick School of Law Research Paper 2010/12

Legal Pluralism and Development Policy Workshop, World Bank - Justice for the Poor Programme, Washington, April 19-20, 2010

25 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2010 Last revised: 21 Feb 2011

See all articles by Julio Faundez

Julio Faundez

University of Warwick - School of Law

Date Written: April 19, 2010

Abstract

This paper welcomes the interest that International Development Agencies (IDAs) have recently shown in legal pluralism and, more specifically, on Non-State Justice Systems (NSJS). Its objective is to remind development practitioners that NSJS are complex institutions that should be approached with great caution. Although formally NSJS are not part of the official state apparatus, they are not entirely outside the prevailing framework of governance. As a consequence, attempts to engage NSJS inevitably risks disturbing finely tuned governance arrangements which are not always easy to uncover or conceptualise using orthodox notions drawn from modern legal, political or economic theory. The materials discussed in this paper, drawn from Latin America and Africa, suggest that any successful engagement with NSJS requires a deep understanding of both local state structures and political processes. It also requires an in-depth understanding of the state and community within which NSJS operate. Indeed, as this paper shows, successful engagement should be seen as part of a continuing process of state building. Unless IDAs are willing to take a wider and more political approach to their involvement with NSJS, they will not achieve meaningful progress in rule of law and governance projects.

Keywords: legal pluralism, governance, rule of law, non-state justice, law and development, Africa, Latin America

JEL Classification: B30, B31, K1, K30, F2, J70, N4

Suggested Citation

Faundez, Julio, Legal Pluralism and International Development Agencies: State Building or Legal Reform (April 19, 2010). Warwick School of Law Research Paper 2010/12, Legal Pluralism and Development Policy Workshop, World Bank - Justice for the Poor Programme, Washington, April 19-20, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1645223 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1645223

Julio Faundez (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry CV4 7AL, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
00441926885917 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/staff/academic/faundez

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