The Resolution of Disputes in State and Tribal Law in the South of Iraq: Toward a Cooperative Model of Pluralism
Negotiating State and Nonstate Law: The Challenges of Global and Local Legal Pluralism (Michael A. Helfand, ed. Cambridge University Press 2015)
47 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2015 Last revised: 7 Jul 2016
Date Written: March 30, 2015
Based on our field work in Iraq considering the means by which Iraqi tribes resolve disputes, and the relationship of those processes to the law of the state, we advance the thesis herein that it is a mistake of category to impose a paradigm of competition on inconsistent legal systems operating within the same social fields. While this may be accurate in some, indeed many, contexts, more attention needs to be paid to the possibility of cooperation across highly autonomous and inconsistent legal systems. Hence, while Iraqi tribal law and Iraqi state law are quite distinct, and quite inconsistent, there is a thin, but very real, form of cooperation between the two systems. Far from resenting state law, or regarding its rules as ineffective, alien or inferior, Iraq’s tribes often embrace it, and quite often regard the tribal law as being in broad cooperation with it in the maintaining of order within their respective social field.
Keywords: Iraq, tribal law, legal pluralism, Arab legal pluralism, Iraqi law, alternative dispute resolution
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