Spinning a Conflict Management Web in Vanuatu: Creating and Strengthening Links between State and Non-State Legal Institutions
(2011) 63 Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law 179-205
20 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2013
Date Written: July 15, 2013
This article argues that increasing the quality of conflict management in legally plural countries requires creating and strengthening linkages between state and non-state justice systems. Given that the resources relevant to conflict management are currently held by both state and non-state actors and institutions, this will facilitate a more efficient and effective sharing of these resources. It will also help to eliminate the problems involved with forum shopping, and promote the development of more endogenous and legitimate conflict management institutions as each legal system learns from and adapts to the other. The article discusses a number of initiatives that have taken place in Vanuatu, a country in the South Pacific, that have forged such linkages, and draws out lessons from them about how to better create and strengthen such linkages. The final section of the article proposes a new conceptual framework to help to centralise the analysis of links in conflict management reform. The conflict management web framework presented here approaches reform in a holistic way, taking account of all the actors and institutions involved in this field in a given jurisdiction. It emphasises the need to develop and strengthen the links between institutions and actors whose actions directly or indirectly affect one another in order to help them to work together better. This means both between state, non-state and hybrid actors and institutions, and also between international donors, academics and NGOs.
Keywords: legal pluralism, conflict management, non-state, Vanuatu, South Pacific, customary
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