Exploring the Limits of the Judicialization of Urban Land Disputes in Vietnam
Law and Society Review, Volume 45, No. 2, pp. 241-275, 2011
36 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2012 Last revised: 27 May 2012
Date Written: January 1, 2011
Economic and legal reforms have triggered waves of conflict over property rights and access to urban land in Vietnam. In this article I develop four epistemic case studies to explore the main precepts and practices that courts must negotiate to extend their authority over land disputes. Courts face a dilemma: Do they apply state laws that disregard community regulatory practices and risk losing social relevance, or apply community notions of situational justice that undermine rule formalism? I conclude that reforms designed to increase rule formalism in the courts may have the unintended consequence of reducing the capacity for judges to find lasting solutions to land disputes.
Keywords: Property rights, court reform, socialist Asia, Vietnam, China
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